I am pleased to send greetings to the Bangkok Dialogue on the Rule of Law and I thank the Government of Thailand and the Thailand Institute of Justice for hosting this dialogue. Let me also express my appreciation for the cooperation with Thailand’s Permanent Representative in Vienna, H.E. Princess Bjrakitiyabha Mahidol, on this initiative.
The rule of law is fundamental to all our work for peace, development and human rights.
At the turn of the century, world leaders agreed on a historic 15-year blueprint to address poverty.
As we approach the final two years in our campaign to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, there is growing understanding that our work could have been enhanced by even greater emphasis on the rule of law.
Now, Member States are working to formulate a post-2015 development agenda.
The rule of law should play a central role in this agenda.
It is not an abstract concept.
Enforceable contracts and fair labour regulations support inclusive growth.
An effective criminal justice system reduces violence.
A just constitution promotes equality.
Independent judges can hold state institutions to account and protect people’s rights.
The rule of law supports elections where every voice is heard and all votes are counted.
It promotes the rights of people to live in dignity, with access to decent housing, health, nutrition, education and jobs.
All this lays the ground for sustainable development.
In contrast, injustice, poor institutions and human rights violations hamper development.
I know from personal experience the importance of the rule of law.
Throughout my career in my country’s foreign service and in the United Nations, I have seen first-hand the importance of the rule of law; from conflict resolution to treaty making, from peacebuilding to economic development.
When I was growing up in Sweden, my father used to say that public trust in the rule of law was key to progress.
Robust and responsive institutions were basic to gain that trust.
The High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons which advised the Secretary-General on the Post-2015 Development Agenda notes the importance of good governance.
This means institutions that safeguard the rule of law, open and accountable government, as well as inclusive growth to provide jobs.
The Panel recommends a new development agenda that includes targets related to the rule of law.
The Secretary-General agreed with this view.
His report, “A Life of Dignity for All”, calls for building peace and effective governance based on the rule of law and sound institutions.
I am glad to note that this view is increasingly shared by Member States.
It is included in the General Assembly’s Declaration on the Rule of Law, and in the landmark Outcome Document adopted in September at the Special Event of the General Assembly on the MDGs.
At the initiative of the Government of Thailand, another resolution also reaffirms the place of the rule of law, crime prevention and criminal justice in the development agenda.
Today, the Bangkok Dialogue builds on this momentum.
As we work for sustainable development, let us ensure that the rule of law will have its rightful place on the agenda.
I wish you a productive and creative meeting.