Statement by Mr. Saad Ahmad Warraich, Counsellor on Agenda Item 83: ‘Rule of Law at the national and international levels’ at the Sixth Committee during the 74th Session of the General Assembly (11 October 2019)

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan aligns itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

We take note of the Secretary General’s report on the United Nations' rule of law activities.

My delegation considers that the subtopic, ‘sharing best practices and ideas to promote the respect of states for international law’ for this session's debate, is apt and timely.

The respect for international law is rooted in the firm conviction that international behaviour must be governed, not by the whims of a few powerful states but instead, through a set of universally applicable rules; that ‘no matter how great our strength, we should deny ourselves the license to do as we please’, and to act in a consistent and calibrated manner.

The UN Charter represents the single most important source of international law that all member states have a responsibility to uphold; more so, at this critical inflection point, when fundamental tenets of multilateralism are increasingly under threat.

Strict adherence to the purposes and principles of the Charter - sovereign equality of states, pacific settlement of disputes, refraining in international relations from the threat or use of force, non-interference in the internal affairs, and the right to self-determination – is intrinsic, not only to ensure the credibility and legitimacy of the UN system, but also to preserve the centrality of the rules-based international order.

A rules-based order can after all, only exist with rule of law.

Mr. Chairman,

The rule of law incorporates protection of individual rights, checks and balances in government, transparency and accountability of institutions, and measures against corruption; it is an expression of good governance and inclusiveness.

These are all elements essential for organic growth and well-being of any society, and not favours bestowed from the outside. The very purpose of the promotion of the rule of law would be defeated if it is invoked as a conditionality for development assistance by donors and the international financial institutions.

Mr. Chairman,

As the cornerstone of the rules-based order, the UN has a critical role to play in strengthening norms of international law. We consider the following to be particularly important:

Mr. Chairman,

The essence of the rule of law is access to justice; and the essence of access to justice is legal empowerment of people so that they can enjoy their full civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights.

In Pakistan, strengthening public institutions and making them more responsive to the needs of the people, form the cornerstone of the policies being undertaken by the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Our priorities on the rule of law and access to justice include speedy and inexpensive justice, culture of accountability, and elimination of corruption. Simultaneously, we are working on an agenda to reduce poverty, create jobs and accelerate economic growth and development.

Mr. Chairman,

Laws are as good as their implementation.

If the noble ideals espoused in the Charter are indeed to be turned beyond mere ideological inflection and into a concrete code of action, fair and just application of laws and principles, must be ensured.

After all, every time that a fundamental norm of international law is flouted or resolutions and binding decisions of the Security Council are sidestepped, the ‘moral’ legitimacy underpinning the international legal framework is also compromised.

This is an indulgence that we can ill afford

I thank you.