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Promoting the rule of law central to UN’s mission, says Migiro

Promoting the rule of law central to UN’s mission, says Migiro

Advancing the rule of law at both the national and international levels is at the very heart of the United Nations’ mission, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said today, appealing to Member States to support the world body’s efforts in that regard.

“The principle that everyone – from the individual right up to the State itself – is accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, is a driving force behind much of the UN’s work,” Ms. Migiro told delegates in the General Assembly’s legal group, also known as the Sixth Committee.

Respect by States for the rule of international law is crucial to the maintenance of international peace and security, to the peaceful settlement of disputes, to the promotion and protection of human rights, and to sustainable development and prosperity, she said.

This is equally true at the national level, she added, noting that respect for the rule of law is fundamental to achieving a durable peace in the aftermath of conflict, to the effective protection of human rights, and to sustained economic progress and development.

She pointed to the large number of rule of law activities carried out by the UN system, as well as by non-UN actors, both governmental and non-governmental.

“This is a crowded field where a lack of strategic planning and coordination has to date produced duplication and a less than optimal use of scarce financial resources,” she said, stressing the need to strategically plan rule of law activities in partnership with recipient States and coordinate their execution among all actors.

It was to achieve coordination, and in response to calls made at the 2005 World Summit, that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established a Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group, which Ms. Migiro chairs and is supported by a small substantive Rule of Law Assistance Unit.

Since the full range of rule of law issues can only be addressed collectively by the UN system, and not by any individual department or agency, the role of a central unit is essential to ensure that the UN assists Member States in the most coordinated and efficient manner possible, she said.

The Unit, which is functioning on an interim basis, has started working with the various departments and agencies to develop a joint UN system work plan to reduce overlap and duplication, and is also working on developing UN system-wide guidance and best practices. It has also begun to develop partnerships with non-UN rule of law actors, both governmental and non-governmental, to maximize resources.