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Why advancing human rights and rule of law is so crucial for the accomplishment of the mission of the Orpe Human Rights Advocates

Before we delve into crucial issue posed above, we want to remind that the United States Institute of Leadership and Diplomacy is a division of the Orpe Human Rights Advocates. Direct actions associated with advocacy programs are operated by the Orpe Human Rights Advocates. Therefore, rule of law is one of the foundations upon which the mission of Orpe Human Rights Advocates (OHRA) is driving its activities. USILD is an instrument of the accomplishment of one of the OHRA missions centered on equipping and empowering the next generation of strong enough and wise enough transformational leaders capable of advocating, advancing policies and changing the outcomes in a direction of transforming organizations, communities, nations, or our world for the benefits of peoples.

Now, it is time to discuss the reasons why we've said above that "rule of law" remains crucial for the accomplishment of our mission. At our organization's level, we promote programs that defend and restore human dignity. OHRA promotes programs that advocate for justice, freedoms, equal protection, social economic equity, peace and stability. However, as an international nongovernmental organization, our mission is limited in its scope and its scope influencing change is limited by the principle of non-interference in the political affairs of a sovereign nation.  At the international level, the advisory authority was conferred to the United Nations General Assembly.


On the global stage, the Chart of the United Nations of 1945 and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights of 1948 were build on Rule of Law fundamentals which privilege freedoms, justice, equality, peace and stability. Normally, according to the UN Charter, all States members of the UN should have an obligation to abide by the Charter of the United Nations and the wider body of international law which is built on the core of Rule of Law. All Member States are expected to be subject to these laws, to apply them in their international relations, and to be equal before them. The United Nations, United States, and European Union have been working to ensure that this basic principle of promoting the rule of law at the international level is being respected by all State members of the UN. Unfortunately, more than a century later, rule of law and the respect human rights still remain a matter of concerns. State members of UN continue to practice acts that violate their own constitutional laws. Issues such as separation of power, justice independence, unfair trial, judges bias, equal protection, due process, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly continue to raise major concerns.

As we have heard from the speech of the Under Secretary-General Menendez, on behalf of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General in which he stated: "while we have made much progress to date, we must now accelerate our efforts to reach the ambitious targets set by the 2030 Agenda. - it is an undeniable fact that we still need justice as an essential foundation for societies if we are going to achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030." Drawing on the speech of the Under UN Secretary, a direct interrogation crossed our mindsets - why after about a century since the UN adopted its Charter in 1945 and the Universal Declaration of 1948 on Human Rights, its State members signatory of the Charter still remain unable to abide to the one of the most fundamental obligations of taking care fostered by the Charter in which Rule of Law was expected to prevail? Some international experts have argued the outcome drawing on the following premise - too much law and too little justice. In other words, too much political declarations on the side of state members and too little willingness and little sincerity in fostering expected changes in advancing rule of law.


Another interrogation came to light: why the UN knowingly that its State members continue to violate the rule of law principle but still unable to create a framework of enforcement that would prevent State members commit acts that violate their own national constitutions and the Chart of the UN? This interrogation can be answered in the following way: First and foremost, the principle of sovereignty of state in international law does not provide authority to the UN General Assembly, and the Security Council the authority to vote a Resolution that mandates a coercive action against a state member who violate the dispositions of UN Charter. Secondly,  history has demonstrated that most states where rule of law is not welcome are governed by apparent or hidden autocratic political regimes that fostering unshared power and continuity of regimes where citizens have no say. This category of state members fear that establishing rule of law would jeopardize their power. They are experts in the art of manipulating constitutions for the sake of preventing their opponents take control of the nation. As in most cases, there is not mechanism of the control of the unconstitutionalities, there is no constitutional lawyers or litigators capable of challenging their acts for unconstitutionality. Furthermore, in most cases, judges are not trained in dealing with litigations involving political matters, especially when it comes to the questions of unconstitutionalities. Therefore, there is need for training constitutional litigators, prosecutors, and judges. There is also need for training public interest litigators. That's why the United States institute of Leadership and Diplomacy in conjunction with Orpe Human Rights Advocates have created a project of Constitutional Advocate focused on training constitutional litigators endowed with the expertise of challenging the unconstitutionalities.

We know that the United Nations promotes the rule of law within member states by fostering the development of norms, social practices and institutions that ensure the independence of core governance institutions. We also know that the goal behind is strengthening the decision-making processes to which political leaders are subject, by curbing the arbitrary exercise of political power. We all have witnessed the positive role of UN, especially its role in post-conflict situations where it build on political settlements. However, when it comes to the respect of the fundamental human rights principles, and rule of law, the UN role remains unsatisfactory. It is also important to consider how the rule of law reaches far beyond laws and courts. By promoting a government of law, equally applicable to all without discrimination, the rule of law makes political and economic opportunities available to all members of society. It empowers people by providing a right of access to public services, making State entities accountable for the delivery of such services. The rule of law also strengthens mechanisms that enforce and protect universal human rights. As such, strengthening the rule of law creates both opportunity and equity, and ultimately helps create better conditions for the broader responsibilities of States and the United Nations. While the UN intent conforms with the rule in accordance to a higher law, rulers opt to go dark instead of going shinning light.

Furthermore, on 24 September 2012, for the first time the General Assembly at its first High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law has adopted a very important Declaration. For the first time, Member States agreed that "all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to just, fair and equitable laws and are entitled without any discrimination, to equal protection of the law". The Declaration covered the breadth of the rule of law, including the importance of judicial systems to informal justice systems, transitional justice, transnational organized crime and terrorism, corruption and international trade. The Declaration reaffirmed that the rule of law is indispensable for upholding peace and security, as well as sustainable development and respect for human rights. A decade later, an interrogation still remains - does rule of law in the state members became a less concern matter? The truth is that, more than ten years late since the adoption of the UN GA in September 2012, the issues associated with rule of law still remain unresolved. Why?

There is a need for developing an integrated approach to rule of law. We found it worthy to link, the September 2005's  United Nations World Summit Declaration built upon the following fundamental formula: "There is no peace without development; there is no development without peace; and there is no lasting peace and sustainable development without respect for human rights." Our challenge now is to detect available strategies for the implementation of the terms sustained in this Declaration, and translate the aspirations of these terms into concrete actions. In order to do so, we need to break down the walls between UN activities in these three pillars and adopt a holistic and integrated approach. The rule of law helps us cut across all three pillars of our work in facing and solving problems. Accordingly, the 2011 World Development Report by the World Bank advanced an approach by offering concrete evidence that these three interlinked issues are central in breaking cycles of fragility in areas such as security, justice and jobs. Each can be strengthened through the rule of law. That's why it is so important to engage in the search of available solutions to the implementation of rule of law in the nations where rule still remains unapplied.


We see this need for an integrated approach in conflict-torn areas where transitional justice, anchored in broad consultations, stabilizes security. By prosecuting perpetrators, we begin the process of healing. By facilitating truth and reconciliation, we allow communities to reunite. By fostering reparations and restitution, we plant the seeds for economic growth and empowerment. Such an integrated approach challenges the United Nations and national authorities to pull together different disciplines, i.e., prosecutors and lawyers, social workers, human rights professionals and development experts, all under the banner of the rule of law.

In regards of mainstreaming the ROL, it is a task of crucial importance. The OHRA has been mainstreaming human rights in its activities. The United Nations sustains that it has been actively mainstreaming human rights in its activities. Experts sustains that this approach requires always identifying where rights and obligations are held so that they can be both respected and reinforced through organizations' activities and programming. Similarly, the United Nations has been actively mainstreaming gender equality since 1997. This involves encouraging all entities within the United Nations system to adopt gender perspectives and to focus attention on the goal of gender equality in their activities and programming. The question now is, does the UN succeeded in its goal of implementing rule of law for the benefits of citizens of its membership countries? If it can be sustained that ROL reflects justice, independent, liberties, separation of powers, does the UN has sincerely the authority required to impose a country member to enforce rule of law that would benefit citizens of a such member country?

By Edward Tusamba Moises

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