Human rights and the rule of law are integral to the post-2015 development agenda

UK statement by Ambassador Lyall Grant on Rule of Law and Human Rights

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Madame Chair,

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this timely and important debate.

The Post 2015 development agenda is a historic opportunity to tackle the causes, not only the symptoms, of poverty – building economies and societies which underpin fair and inclusive growth and accountable and responsive institutions. It also provides us with a unique chance to formulate a universal agenda - one that is relevant to all and that demonstrates the role we must all play in order to achieve poverty eradication in a sustainable way.

Human rights and the Rule of Law are central to this aim. They are building blocks of shared prosperity. They enable people to ensure governments are delivering on their commitments to tackle poverty. The importance of human rights and the rule of law to development was reiterated in the Millennium Declaration, the MDG outcome document of September 2013 and in paragraph 10 of the Rio+20 outcome document, The Future We Want.

They are also what people want: the MYWorld survey and consultations undertaken by UN Development Group and the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel show that people want accountable government, access to justice and the promotion and protection of all their human rights. We should not ignore them, as the Russian Federation and a few others would like to do

Madame Chair,

The Rule of Law exists where law and order are prevalent, where people and businesses can access efficient and predictable dispute resolution mechanisms, where there is equal treatment before the law, where public authority is bound by, and accountable before, pre-existing, clear and known laws and where human rights are protected.

The Rule of Law ensures that the state functions for its citizens and stimulates private sector development for rising prosperity. It is associated with growth and investment; peace and security; accountability and democracy; and equality and social justice. The Rule of Law reduces space for corruption, so protecting valuable resources. The Rule of Law is therefore essential to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (for example, for healthy lives, quality education for all, and sustainable energy for all). It should be both embedded throughout the Post 2015 development framework and represented strongly in goals on Governance and Peaceful Societies.

We believe that the post-2015 development framework should support human rights in three critical ways:

Firstly, we must ensure that the new agenda truly leaves no-one behind.

We will need targets that support absolute, not partial, achievement of goals so that even the most disadvantaged are reached.

And we will need a revolution in the quality, coverage and timeliness of data, so that we can know for sure that our efforts are bringing success.

Secondly, we need goals and targets that promote the institutions that enable people to realise their human rights, consistent with international human rights standards: open and accountable government, access to justice and the rule of law, property rights, legal identity, personal security, political participation, and freedom of speech, assembly, and of the media.

Thirdly, we need to promote equal rights for women and men. We need to empower women and girls, including through the promotion and protection of their sexual and reproductive health and rights, an end to child marriage and the elimination of all forms of violence and ending discrimination which prevents them from fully participating in economic, political and public life.

Finally, I would like to highlight that this agenda is about people and a better life for all. This means confidence and trust in the rule of law to ensure a family can invest in its future; it means fair and equitable access to justice so that contracts and property rights can be protected; and it means the realisation of human rights so that each person can determine the direction of his or her life.

This is why it is so important that we recognise human rights and the rule of law as integral to the post-2015 development agenda.

Thank you

Published 11 June 2014