Helen Clark: Speech at the Launch of the Rule of Law Partnership with the Supreme Court of UzbekistanOct 16, 2014
It is an honour for me to participate in this official launch of “The Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan” project. UNDP is proud to be a partner of the Supreme Court in this important initiative, generously supported by USAID co-funding. I would like to express my appreciation to USAID for the partnership in this important initiative.
Reform of the judiciary was a key component of the Presidential “Concept of Further Deepening Democratic Reforms and the Establishing of Civil Society in the Country” announced by H.E. President Karimov in November 2010.
Judicial independence is an indispensable part of the right to due process, the rule of law, and democracy. The concept of the rule of law is embedded in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Support for the rule of law is a core pillar of UNDP’s work. We have programmes in this area in more than ninety countries and have developed global expertise on it.
The great philosopher Socrates said 2500 years ago: ‘Nothing is to be preferred before justice’. The rule of law and access to justice play an important role in development as the UN General Assembly has affirmed.
The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals in the post-2015 development agenda, which was set up by the UN General Assembly, has proposed a goal on “access to justice”, recognizing the great importance of citizens being able to seek and obtain justice.
The project we are launching today is a follow up to a previous Supreme Court – UNDP successful initiative on civil justice reform. Just one year into our partnership in civil justice, the President issued a decree on increasing the number of inter-district civil courts. The objective was to bring courts closer to people, and for an e-court system across the country.
The overall goal of this new initiative is to strengthen public access to and trust in the judiciary. This project will serve as a strategic platform for on-going reform in the civil justice sector of Uzbekistan. It will engage key national stakeholders in strengthening judicial independence through rule of law institutions, and engage citizens in public discussion on issues of court administration and transparency.
A feature of the project is its use of modern technologies. E-government tools can be helpful in increasing transparency, in simplifying access to courts, and reducing bureaucratic barriers to the administration of justice so that all can have better access to justice.
UNDP believes that this initiative will play an important role in enhancing the independence, service orientation, transparency, and effectiveness of Uzbekistan’s judicial system.
I would like to express my appreciation to the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan for its excellent co-operation with UNDP. We look forward to continuing our trusted partnership and greatly value USAID’s support for this work.