The Rule of Law and Human Rights - 2016 Annual Report

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The support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to the rule of law moves beyond traditional development approaches to strategically address the drivers of violent conflict and build resilient communities.

Cohesive societies are a precursor for sustainable development; people cannot realize their full potential nor actively contribute to their community without basic safety and security. To this end, UNDP’s Global Programme on Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights for Sustaining Peace and Fostering Development (2016 – 2020)1 is designed to increase justice, security, and respect for human rights in contexts affected or threatened by crisis, conflict, and fragility.

Over the course of many years working in complex contexts, we have learned that the cycles of violence, poverty, corruption, and impunity can rarely be escaped without programmes that are designed to mitigate the root causes of these issues. When legal institutions mandated to guarantee basic rights are politicized, or dominated by elites, and fail to provide transparent, accountable, and timely access to justice, the legitimacy and credibility of the state erodes. If left unaddressed, citizens’ mistrust in the state – combined with a deep yearning for truth and accountability – can escalate underlying tensions into full-fledged conflict. Informed by political and conflict analysis, UNDP invests time in developing context-specific and responsive programmes that meet citizen expectations and bring about transformational change. We proactively ensure that our programmes are tailored to address key challenges, involve the relevant partners, and are effectively implemented.
Utilizing a rights-based development approach, UNDP supports Member States to foster a rule of law culture in which people experience greater peace and security and can exercise their rights, advance their livelihoods, and protect those of future generations.

We build on long-standing partnerships with international, national, and local actors to create an enabling environment for sustainable peace and development to take root. The Global Focal Point for Police, Justice, and Corrections (GFP) is one of the flagship mechanisms that UNDP employs to deliver coordinated rule of law assistance. Co-led by UNDP and DPKO, the GFP brings together UN Women, OHCHR, UNODC, and other United Nations entities to facilitate joint programming and resource mobilization in service of the whole system. Under the GFP,
UNDP is supporting “sustaining peace” pilots in Burkina Faso and The Gambia, following the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Working Group for Sustaining Peace. By placing people at the center and fostering high-level political support, the sustaining peace approach significantly enhances the United Nations’ ability to create tangible impact, including in the areas of conflict prevention, the rule of law, national reconciliation, and human rights.

Another key international partnership is UNDP’s collaboration with OHCHR and the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI). In September 2016, senior leaders from each agency agreed to scale-up joint support to national human rights institutions. At the country level, this partnership provides greater capacities, coherent support, and a platform for consistent high-level advocacy in support of national institutions to promote and protect human rights.

UNDP’s partnerships with state institutions have the potential to create broad-based change for people. For example, in Afghanistan and Timor-Leste, UNDP works with the national police to enhance the quality of services for women and girls by developing gender responsive programmes and increasing the number of female police officers. UNDP also supports truth and reconciliation commissions to provide redress and reparations to victims in places such as Tunisia and Sudan. Support for justice and security sector reform is provided by UNDP in Iraq and Guinea, amongst others, to ensure that institutions uphold human rights and deliver services that fully respond to the needs of the population.

Local partners are crucial for expanding access to justice and advocating for the involvement of communities in the provision of justice and security. For instance, in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the State of Palestine, UNDP partners with civil society organizations to provide free and comprehensive legal aid to those who otherwise would not have access. Additionally, UNDP supports community policing initiatives, involving a wide range of local stakeholders, to foster mutual respect and people’s confidence in the police in places like Pakistan and Sierra Leone.

Our rule of law and human rights work would not be possible without the generous support from our donors. Since 2008, the Global Programme has received financial contributions from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In this annual report, you will find an overview of the Global Programme’s engagement in 34 countries affected by crisis, conflict, and fragility. Part I, Year in Review, reflects on international policy developments affecting rule of law assistance and provides key country-level results achieved through the Global Programme in 2016. Part II, Country Profiles, presents an analysis of individual country programmes supported by the Global Programme. Lastly, Part III, Financial Information, provides a detailed look at support mobilized for the Global Programme both at headquarters and in the field.
UNDP remains committed to delivering context-specific rule of law, justice, security, and human rights assistance that is informed by the political environment and conflict analysis to contribute to sustaining peace. We look forward to enhancing our partnerships within and beyond the UN to ensure that our support is strategic and responds to the needs and aspirations of the communities in which we operate.

Magdy Martínez-Solimán