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Statement of the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Lithuania at the High level Event on the Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

09.06.2014

Madam President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to speak also on behalf of Lithuania. At the outset, allow me to thank the PGA for the initiative to convene this timely event on the Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Estonia and Lithuania fully align themselves with the statement of the European Union.

Madam President,

Adhering to the rule of law and delivering justice builds public trust in national government institutions, which is essential for developing a safer environment for us to live in. Moreover, the preventative nature of strong and consistent rule of law institutions helps to reduce the risk of further conflicts thus providing the people a possibility to fully exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

 

The Heads of States and Governments stated  in the declaration of  the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the rule of law at the national and international levels in September 2012, that “justice, including transitional justice is a fundamental building block of sustainable peace in countries of conflict and post-conflict situations”.  Justice is necessary for sustainable development and security in any post-conflict society. Impunity provides fertile ground for the recurrence of conflicts and breeds instability.

Madam President,

Universality of international law and adherence by all to the same principles are essential. In this regard, countries – whether they have joined the Rome Statute or not – must set an example of non-aggression, self-restraint, and respect for the rule of law and respect for human rights. This can be achieved by establishing or strengthening accountability systems as well as monitoring and evaluation mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels. The Rome Statute built upon the recognition of sexual violence as a serious international crime by the ad hoc tribunals, expanded the scope of sexual violence-based crimes in international law and acknowledged that these crimes can be committed against men and women. It is important that the Rome Statute’s gender sensitivity is translated into national prosecutions to make sure that national proceedings take into account the gender dimension of atrocity crimes to the same extent as the Rome Statute does.

 

 

Madam President,

States must also acknowledge that it is first and foremost their responsibility to develop national capacities to investigate and prosecute serious international crimes. Development of national capacity should include a comprehensive legislative framework to ensure investigation and prosecution of crimes to end impunity for the serious international crimes and also all forms of gender-based violence, including sexual harassment, sexual violence and trafficking domestic violence and marital rape, sustaining prevention campaigns, and ensuring universal access to critical health, social, legal and other services and access to justice for all victims of violence.  Sustainable development cannot be achieved if we fail in at least securing minimum standards for all human rights of all people without any gender- and age-discriminatory provisions.

Madam President,

It must be stressed that supporting and developing the rule of law is about all sectors of national and international governance. As also recognized by the High Level Panel on the Post-2015, we agree that the responsive institutions promoting the rule of law and access to justice are necessary for transformative shifts enabling development, and for “building peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all.”  We strongly believe that good governance, democracy and the rule of law must be emphasized in the future sustainable development agenda among the sustainable development goals.

In this regard we believe that States should recognize their role and commitment to contribute towards reaching the more inclusive, transparent and empowering societies,  where everyone can enjoy their human rights and men and women are treated equally. Thereby we would like to stress the full enjoyment of all human rights of women and girls including sexual and reproductive health and rights.  There should be no discrimination across the range of social, cultural, economic, civil and political rights, including in accessing justice, social benefits, health services, educational and employment opportunities, in forming a family, in fulfilling their right to self-expression, to seek and impart information, to freedom of organization and assembly, and to freedom from violence, exploitation and harassment. In this regard we would also like to stress the importance of internet freedom.

In conclusion please allow me to emphasize that the Post-2015 Development Agenda must be based on human rights, gender-equality, social inclusion and non-discrimination. Sustainable development, the rule of law and human rights should not be considered as separate matters.

Thank you for your attention!

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