Justice Parallel to Peace Establishment
The United Nations' 2030 Agenda, as a universal plan of action whose principal aim is to ensure a more affluent future for people and the planet, could not fail to have included among its 17 objectives those that precisely govern its foundational institution: peace and justice.
The United Nations is fully aware of the significance of unity and conciliation for more sustainable development, always ensuring human rights and international collaboration. No political programme can truly reform the institution unless it considersits most crucial dimension: the human one.
To attain social well-being, we must assure that every citizen's fundamental rights are protected. As a result, we must discuss institutions that are peaceful, just, and accessible, and worthy of sustaining peace and discipline. "Promote inclusive and sustainable growth for sustainable development, offer fairness for all, and establish effective, responsible, and inclusive institutions at all levels," says SDG 16 - Peace, Equity, and Strong Organizations.
You may still be perplexed as to how democracy and peace may promote long-term growth. First, we must consider the social implications of these concepts: we can only guarantee fundamental rights and widespread facilities such as access to education, adequate housing, freedom of expression, and participation of citizens in the construction of better cities if we have stable governments that pursue international standards of justice and peace.
"Peace, equality, and effective, trustworthy, and inclusive institutions are at the heart of sustainable development," says Goal 16. This was a critical aspect that was overlooked during the MDGs' hasty formulation. The remaining sixteen goals are dependent on the operation of institutions, and there is a substantial risk of corruption inside these organizations. It has been calculated that countries who vigorously combat corruption and enhance their rule of law might see a 400% rise in national wealth. Much of this is due to the fact that criminal activities such as embezzlement, bribery, fraud, and tax avoidance cost developing nations around US$1.26 trillion per year, a staggering sum for countries where the percentage of the population living on less than $1.25 per day is particularly high. The rule of law is the legal notion that all persons, entities, authorities, and the government should be held responsible under the law. The idea also demands that the law and its legislation be accessible, clear, and uniformly implemented, as well as that justice be provided in a speedy and ethical manner.
International Bridges to Justice's work in Cambodia demonstrates the power of legal representation as a development instrument. Cambodia's court system was almost non-existent during the Khmer rouge's regime; torture was a regular police tactic — swift and inexpensive. To protect detainees, anti-torture regulations existed at the time, but they were not transmitted down from higher levels to the grassroots level. Since then, IBJ has offered legal assistance to the impoverished who had no access to justice, and has witnessed a remarkable improvement in Cambodia's political atmosphere: torture rates are now below 5%. The rule of law is now something that everyone does on a regular basis.
The "rule of law, justice, and security – or their absence- have a profound influence on the attainment of the MDGs," according to experience (UNDP, 2010). This is seen in the pursuit of initiatives that promote gender equality. To achieve such equality, legislation must be adopted and executed to bring about noticeable change, like as employment liberty and fairness from sexual harassment. However, according to UN Woman, there has been a significant lag in the enforcement of such legislation, which has hampered women's equality and empowerment. Corruption and its implications on the MDGs were studied and debated, but it was never considered a direct concern, as evidenced by the fact that it was not included as an objective in the MDGs. This can only be a good thing for the SDGs, as it has now been included to goal sixteen.
In conclusion, the law and order is an effective instrument that must be considered in order for other development goals to be achieved. The fact that it has been acknowledged under SDG 16 is a huge step forward, but a plan must be developed to address the instinctive difficulty of higher level corrupt practices in law-making bodies, which can severely impede development.
We've seen how an emphasis on legislation may help progress, but it can also be a hindrance. Returning to IBJ's work in Cambodia, we have seen how the government had the necessary legislation in place to avoid torture, but that compliance was a problem. Without obedience, the rule of law can only do so much.
The other major issue is the manner in which laws are enacted. The idea of parliamentary democracy, for example, stipulates that Parliament has the ability to create or repeal any legislation. The fact that laws are made by an impartial authority that is susceptible to systemic corruption may be troublesome. It is also incumbent to Parliament to notify the appropriate agencies and persons that a new legislation has been passed. Individuals in the law-making body, as well as the authorities who implement the laws, may be susceptible to fraudulent activity in countries with a large political bureaucracy — the Indian police force is a well-known example.
About The Author
Research Intern, The Stambh Organisation, India