Rule of law, justice and security in countries affected by crisis

When countries fail to establish justice, security, and the rule of law peace and stability are the first to suffer. A breakdown in the rule of law may slow the road to reintegration after a conflict, cause or exacerbate violence and tensions, and fuel criminality and insecurity. Only when societies are able to implement and abide by the rule of law, can they also achieve other critical milestones, such as inclusive and effective governance and the respect for human rights.

For 1.5 billion people around the world who live in places affected by conflict, violence or high levels of crime, re-establishing justice and security is critical for building peace. In 40 countries, UNDP helps re-establish the rule of law after conflicts or where it has broken down.


Our Focus

Women call for peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Eskinder Debebe, UN Photo

Dealing with the legacy of violence: To offer redress for past violence and human rights violations, UNDP provides advice and training to local and national leaders on establishing truth commissions, providing reparations to victims of conflict, and prosecuting conflict-related crimes.

Increasing safety and security for all: UNDP works with communities to discuss and analyze the causes of and possible solutions for the violence and insecurity they face. UNDP also helps curb the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, while ensuring that security actors in crisis situations are professional, accountable and respect human rights.          

Building effective justice and security institutions: In crisis contexts, UNDP helps governments to rapidly restore justice and security services. In the long-term, this includes implementing measures for justice and security reform, including through training for justice sector professionals, such as judges and prosecutors, while helping citizens to understand their rights and access the justice system. UNDP supports mobile courts which resolve disputes in remote or rural communities that are often excluded from the traditional justice system.

Improving justice and security for women: To support and empower women in crisis contexts, UNDP helps improve overall justice and security, tackle impunity for sexual and gender-based violence, and increase women’s participation and leadership in justice and security institutions. UNDP also engages communities to prevent violence against women and supports legal frameworks that are inclusive and protect women's rights.


Our stories

  • In Niger training young people for a better futureDec 16, 2014In Niger training young people for a better futureYoung unemployed people at risk of being enrolled by armed groups and smugglers are trained to develop new skills thanks to a regional project on human security and resilience in the Sahel.

  • Bosnia & Herzegovina: Arms meltdown movement forces firepower from the streetsApr 25, 2014Bosnia & Herzegovina: Arms meltdown movement forces firepower from the streetsIn Bosnia and Herzegovina, where illegally held left-over weapons and explosive devices kill hundreds of people each year, UNDP is helping the government to consign guns to the recycling bin.

  • Colombia participates in the peace processMar 3, 2014Colombia participates in the peace processAs peace talks continue in Havana, UNDP is helping to ensure that the voices of Colombians are heard at the table.

  • Fighting Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of CongoMar 7, 2013Fighting Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of CongoA UNDP run scheme is helping survivors of sexual violence in the Congo to get their day in court.

  • Guatemala: Laying a mother to rest after 31 years Sep 25, 2013Guatemala: Laying a mother to rest after 31 yearsIn Guatemala, UNDP is helping some of the family members of more than 45,000 victims of the country’s “disappeared” to finally find out what happened to their loved ones.

Projects and Initiatives

Global Initiatives


Through its Global Programme on Strengthening the Rule of Law in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations UNDP is building peace and promoting access to justice and security in over 37 crisis-affected countries and situations. The Global Programme is also a vehicle for UNDP to engage in policy debates around rule of law, justice and security with other key UN actors, and to support international consensus-building towards collective action in this area. Through its Global Rule of Law Programme, UNDP is engaged in joint programming with the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations and other UN agencies in a number of peacekeeping settings.

In Focus
Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Crisis Situations

Whether in times of armed conflict, post-conflict or peace, sexual violence is neither inevitable nor acceptable; it is an outcome of gender inequality and a violation of human rights for which states are accountable.

Key Publications
Global Programme Annual Report 2013

Strengthening the Rule of Law in Crisis-Affected and Fragile Situations

Why, What and How to Measure?

A User's Guide to Measuring Rule of Law, Justice and Security Programmes

Improving Women's Access to Justice

During and after conflict: Mapping UN Rule of Law Engagement

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The Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections

How do we work together with the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) on being the Focal Point for the Police, Justice and Corrections Areas in the Rule of Law in Post-conflict and other Crisis Situations?

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