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Item 8 - on the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

JOINT STATEMENT on behalf of 75 states, 26 September 2016

Mr President, I have the honour to deliver this statement on the Rule of Law on behalf of a cross-regional group of 75 States.

Mr President, the Rule of Law is at the heart of the UN, along with democracy, good governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms. The concept of the Rule of Law includes equality before the law, prohibition of any form of discrimination and ensuring the right to a fair trial. Reinforcement of the Rule of Law within societies at the domestic and international level is a key tool to operationalise and promote human rights and vice versa.

Transparent, fair, effective and humane justice systems, enforcement structures and an independent judiciary are all essential for the Rule of Law.  This protects individuals from arbitrary governance and empowers individuals, including those who may be otherwise marginalised in their societies. Because of this we underline the importance of strengthening the Rule of Law to enhance the protection of human rights and for the protection of all individuals. Societies with a strong Rule of Law and respect for Human Rights are more likely to be peaceful, stable, just, equal, inclusive and resilient; and they are more likely to achieve stable and prosperous societies and bestow dignity on their people. We therefore underline the importance of States actively promoting the Rule of Law. In addition, we commend the ongoing efforts of all relevant UN organs and agencies to assist States in all regions of the world to strengthen the Rule of Law and we encourage them to continue their important work in this regard.

We continue in our conviction that the Human Rights Council can play an important role in strengthening the rules-based international system and assist in promoting the Rule of Law at the national and international level.  States should work together to promote implementation, based on respect for the Rule of Law, of Goal 16.3 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

We urge all States to do their part at both the national and international level.

Thank you Mr President.