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

When countries fail to establish the rule of law, justice and security after a crisis, stability can disappear while the delivery of basic social services suffer. A breakdown in the rule of law may exacerbate or cause conflict, and fuel criminality, impunity and insecurity. For 1.5 billion people around the world who live in places affected by conflict or crisis, re-establishing justice and security is critical for building confidence between individuals, between communities, and between the State and society.

Our Goals

In crisis affected countries, UNDP seeks to rapidly restore the rule of law, which includes promoting political dialogue and helping communities to deal with the legacy of conflict; giving people, especially women, access to justice and improved security; and helping institutions such as courts, justice ministries and the police to become more transparent, accountable and respectful of human rights, so the government can re-establish state authority.

Our Focus


UNPOL training Malian police force on crowd control in Bamako, August 2013. Photo: Marco Dormino, UN Photo

Increasing safety and security for all: UNDP works to ensure that the security sector in post conflict countries is competent, accountable and aware of human rights, especially to protect women and the most vulnerable. This work can include restricting the flow of illegal weapons; strengthening civilian oversight; and training police.

Dealing with the legacy of violence: Addressing human rights abuses following a conflict helps societies confront past crimes and is an important part of re-establishing peace. UNDP provides advice and training to communities seeking transitional justice, such as through truth commissions, reparations to victims and the prosecution of conflict-related crimes.

Building confidence through accountable and accessible justice and security institutions: Improving public confidence in the justice system is essential to lasting recovery from conflict. UNDP works in conflict and post-conflict countries to help reform courts and judicial systems to make them more efficient; tackling corruption and addressing land and property rights; and providing legal aid to displaced and war-affected people. 

Improving the delivery of justice and security for women: Women and girls vulnerability to gender based violence is exacerbated during conflict. UNDP works to prosecute offenders; provide legal aid to victims and help them seek reparations; and improve the ability of governments to deal with the problem. This includes increasing the number of female police officers and court officials in post conflict environments.

Our stories

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Supporting recovery and local governance in Somalia

It is early morning and Amina[1] has another busy day ahead. The mother of two must get her children off to school and finish some housekeeping before she can attend to her small business, selling second-hand clothes and household supplies beside her corrugated-iron-roofed house. In spite of her hecmore

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Bosnia & Herzegovina: Arms meltdown movement forces firepower from the streets

In the small, peaceful town of Modrica, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, two teenagers recently caused quite a commotion. After finding hand grenades lying in the open in a former battlefield, they decided to bring them to school. But the event was not that unusual. Several violent incidents have occurredmore

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Colombia participates in the peace process

Uffyunu, a Wayuu indigenous woman, has witnessed two massacres in her life, when paramilitary groups invaded her village, killed dozens of people and left hundreds without a home in 2001 and 2004. "It was terrible," says Uffyunu, who lives with her 5-year-old son in the southern part of Lamore

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DRC: Nobody is above the law, not even the military

The atmosphere is tense in Bweremana, Goma, in war-torn North Kivu. A large crowd has gathered outside a tent, serving as an impromptu military court. They wait impatiently for the verdict to be announced. When the announcement finally comes, there are gasps of shock and relief from the crowd. Eightmore

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Guatemala: Laying a mother to rest after 31 years

In 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. The murmur of chanting and the smell of incense fill the air in a small house in Rabinal, about 50 km from Guatemala City. A Maymore

Projects and Initiatives

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El Salvador: An early example of peacebuilding

The armed conflict that raged in El Salvador from the late 1970s through the 1980s ended in 1992 with the Chapultepec Peace Accords. In the ensuing years, UNDP helped to rebuild institutions and address the underlying causes of post-conflict societal violence. Despite this progress, the consolidatimore

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Montenegro: Defense reform brings greater security

Montenegro’s Boka Bay is a place of striking beauty. Only a few years ago, this unique place faced a dire threat : 128 tonnes of toxic fuel, once destined to propel anti-ship rockets, was stored on the shore at risk of leaking from outdated storage tanks. “My family, friends and neighbours were allmore

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Global Initiatives

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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.

Key Publications
New! Global Programme Annual Report 2013

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


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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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"Visions of Hope" Photo Gallery
  • Somalia: A woman speaks out on the obstacles to peace, the future of her region, and what needs to be done next. In order to achieve lasting peace, Interpeace works with societies to promote inclusive dialogue.
  • Sri Lanka: Having been displaced several times by war; in February 2012; Manchula, who has been separated from her family since she was 13, was reunited with her father.
  • Cambodia: Children play safely in a village finally cleared of mines
  • DRC: A Community Liaison team from the local NGO Humanitas Ubangi, supported by the Mines Advisory Group, gives a mine risk education session to village children.
  • Cambodia: Cleared of landmines, Chisang village is now a much safer place for its inhabitants.
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