Non-Aligned Movement has stressed that respect for the rule of law is essential to maintain international peace and security as well as to achieve socioeconomic development. NAM firmly believes that rule of law at the international level requires greater attention by the United Nations. The Charter of the United Nations and the principles enshrined therein provide normative guidance as to the basis of the rule of law at the international level. NAM Member States are working towards the effective realisation of Goal 16 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which states that “Without peace, stability, human rights and effective governance, based on the rule of law – we cannot hope for sustainable development”.
These principles were reiterated by a number of NAM Member States during the meeting of the sixth committee of the UN General Assembly at its 73rd session held on 8th October 2018. Iran, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement said that the Charter of the United Nations provides normative guidance on the principle of rule of law at the international level.
All States should equally respect and comply with their obligations under treaties as well as customary international law. Iran also highlighted the need to fully respect the functions and powers of each principal organ of the United Nations, particularly the General Assembly, and maintain balance among these organs.
Qatar, associating itself with the Non-Aligned Movement, observed that countries that are weak in rule of law are more exposed to crises, which in turn affects peace and security at the regional and international levels. Qatar also stressed that rule of law can not prevail without respect for human dignity and hence, relations between States should be governed by the principles for mutual respect, non-interference and sovereignty. Qatar said that it was complying with its international commitments to strengthen rule of law and its Government agencies were operating with full respect for the principle and clear judicial frameworks based on international norms in place to protect the rights of citizens.
Gabon, associating the country’s statement with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, stated that there is no single model for strengthening the rule of law and instead there is a need for an ongoing dialogue that allows for ownership at the national level. Gabon highlighted that the commitment for ensuring peace and justice was reflected in the country’s basic law and also mentioned that the country undertook measures such as reforms in the justice sector and establishing a targeted awareness program to achieve such objectives.
South Africa emphasised the importance of rule of law in achieving the 2030 Agenda as well as peaceful relations between States and stressed that while the rule of law is essential at the international level, the importance of strengthening it at the domestic level should not be discounted. In line with the objectives of NAM, South Africa supported United Nations’ efforts to facilitate the codification, development and promotion of an international legal framework of norms, standards and mechanisms.
Togo said that the principle of rule of law must be universally upheld and fostering it is conducive to sustainable development and to the promotion and protection of human rights. Harmonious development of all countries can only occur in an environment that promotes the rule of law.
Kenya highlighted the significance of promoting the rule of law in the digital era. Digital initiatives had the capability of bringing the international community closer to realizing Sustainable Development Goal 16 on the promotion of the rule of law. Kenya also reiterated that the rule of law cannot exist without a transparent legal system.
India, associating itself with self with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the United Nations was established to prevent conflict between powers and bring about a greater rule of law to govern the behaviour of nation States. Noting the existence of the principle in areas like trade, investment and intellectual property, transport and communication, use of global commons such as seas and oceans, environment, climate change, and outer space, India regretted that there are other areas, such as terrorism, where the international community has not been able to develop the rule of law.
By Dr. Pawan Mathur