27 May 2011
Deputy Secretary-General

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General, at Opening of Exhibition for International Peacekeepers


Day, Stresses ‘Putting People First’ in Promoting Rule of Law


Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks yesterday in New York at the opening of an exhibition for the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, observed on 29 May:

I am pleased to be here to open this important exhibit.

The rule of law is not a subject that usually captures people’s imaginations.  It can seem like such an abstract concept.  But this exhibit shows just how concrete the rule of law is in people’s lives.  We see it on the faces in these photographs.  The rule of law has a vital role to play in protecting human rights, promoting security and creating conditions for lasting peace.

That is why establishing the rule of law is so important to United Nations peacekeeping.  Each of these panels illuminates a different aspect of this work.  We see UN Police working side by side with their national counterparts — teaching, mentoring, monitoring and inspiring.

We are trying to create police services that are respected, but never feared, by the people they serve.  We are striving to create courts where justice is served fairly and expeditiously.  We are working with prison authorities to ensure that human rights are respected and conditions are humane.  In doing this work, our staff point out that people in the care of correctional facilities are, first of all, people.  This idea of putting “people first” is true of all of our efforts to promote the rule of law.

As the Chair of the United Nations Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group, I know that our Organization is fully committed to supporting this important work.  None of it would be possible without the brave men and women who serve in our operations, and the Member States that make that contribution possible.  I therefore commend all of our contributing countries, and each of our individual staff members.  Thanks to them, the United Nations can address the problems — and foster the solutions — that this exhibit so clearly depicts.

I hope the many visitors who come here will leave with a greater understanding that the rule of law is not just a concept – it is a lifesaver.

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For information media • not an official record