Justice and security central to crisis recovery

06 Jun 2012

imageSexual Assault Referral Centres in Hargeisa and Burao, Somaliland, combining the provision of medical and legal services for sexual and gender-based violence survivors, have been established with UNDP’s support. (Photo: UNDP Somalia)

New York - A new report states that security and the rule of law are essential to recovery from crisis situations.

“We have seen around the world, that men and women affected by crisis in the first instance expect security,” said Helen Clark, head of the United Nations Development Programme, at the launch of a UNDP report that calls for strengthening the rule of law after crises. “The freedom from fear is the freedom they need the most to live their lives in dignity.”
 
The report, ‘Strengthening the Rule of Law in Crisis-affected and Fragile Situations, notes the fact that a quarter of the world’s population, some 1.5 billion people, live in countries affected by armed conflict or organized crime.  It highlights the strong link between development and protecting people from violence and building legal institutions.

“Violence can undermine and overwhelm the institutions of state,” the report says. “When this happens, efforts to overcome poverty are weakened. As such, rule of law plays a central role in providing a definitive path from conflict, violence and fragility to peace, development and stability.”

“In the past, international actors have unfortunately disengaged when faced with resistance. I would cite the good example of UNDP,” said the Minister for Justice of Liberia, H.E. Christiana Tah, another keynote speaker at the launch event. “When  faced with resistance in one quarter in Liberia, they came to a different part of the national apparatus to help us connect.”

In crisis-affected countries from Colombia to Somalia UNDP is working to boost the ability of courts, police, security services, lawyers and ministries to deliver effective services. UNDP also provides support to individuals -- such as through legal aid -- and nations dealing with the legacy of conflict by assisting truth commissions, reconciliation processes and supporting the prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

For example, in Libya, UNDP is helping government officials, judges and lawyers to establishing justice mechanisms and explore the legal options available for reparations against those who committed abuses in the former regimes.

“Promoting the rule of law in the aftermath of crisis is not only an important objective in its own right, but also is central to building stability, consolidating peace, and securing development,” said UNDP Chief. “For this reason, UNDP invests in strengthening justice and security in close partnership with others – most importantly national governments.”