Impact by Regions, Countries & Territories
UNDP’s Global Programme supports crisis-affected contexts across all regions to strengthen the rule of law and human rights. In this section, we present five regional overviews, detailing our priorities and approach depending on the context, as well as feature select country and territory results from 2021.
Five contexts from the list (Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Mali and Yemen) illustrate the achievements of the Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law (GFP). In peacekeeping missions and transition settings, UNDP’s Global Programme works through the GFP to deliver integrated assistance with our UN partners.
GFP Global Focal Point Highlights
The rule of law is essential for sustainable peace and resilient economies, as well as for the prevention or recurrence of conflict. To prevent or address injustice, inequalities or democratic deficits, UNDP works with multiple stakeholders to operate in a way that is consistent with the rule of law and creates opportunities for all individuals to exercise their rights and access justice.
The importance of strong institutions is more evident than ever as countries and communities respond to disruption, whether because of public health restrictions, climate change or political upheaval. Limitations on public gatherings and travel have revealed the need for institutions that are resilient to disruption.
2021 was a pivotal year that saw various developments affecting peace and security around the world. Civic space continued to shrink and the social contract between states and citizens was increasingly challenged, particularly during and after the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing distressing consequences of climate change, states and communities are forced to manage more cross-border conflicts, triggered by the displacement of people seeking increasingly scarce resources.
The scope of human rights challenges is widening, from eroded public trust and shrinking civic space to ongoing inequality and human rights impacts in the socio-economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and emerging risks in the digital sphere. National human rights institutions (NHRIs), along with other human rights defenders, are facing rising and sophisticated forms of reprisals for carrying out their work.
Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) of the 2030 Agenda highlights the importance of access to justice for all for the development of peaceful and inclusive societies. Meaningful access to justice can only be achieved when people know their rights, have the opportunities, agency and capacities to claim them, and have access to independent, inclusive and people-centred justice systems that will respond in a timely, fair and effective manner.
Without justice, there can be no lasting peace. In post-conflict, crisis-affected and fragile contexts, truth-seeking initiatives and reconciliation efforts are essential to bring peace to affected communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down transitional processes as states prioritized their response to the health crisis and measures to support the economy.
In 2021, the continued erosion of democracy and the spread of authoritarian trends in politics in many parts of the world contributed to a backlash against women’s rights. The COVID-19 crisis has reversed some of the hard-won gender parity gains by exacerbating pre-existing inequalities and power imbalances. It has also caused a dramatic increase in sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). All these challenges have been particularly acute in conflict, fragile and crisis-affected settings.
New ideas and new strategies are critical to building sustainable and effective development approaches that really meet people’s needs. Technologies and globalization raise new human rights concerns and threaten the rule of law. Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to limit people’s access to basic services. UNDP connected expertise across the globe to learn and adapt. Creating a culture of curiosity and experimentation, these efforts ensured that local needs and expertise were combined with emerging models to bring strategic thinking to people-centred development goals.
Central African Republic
Central African Republic (CAR) suffered from decades of violence and a major conflict in 2013-2014. Central Africans’ high demands for justice have been fulfilled with two national justice bodies operationalized and functional: a Special Criminal Court (SCC) and a non-judicial Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TJRRC). The SCC is a national court of hybrid compositions with international judges, established to investigate, prosecute and judge grave human rights violations, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
To support CAR in its efforts to bring justice to people, UNDP played a role of a convener and integrator between the authorities from both the security and justice sectors, different UN entities, international partners and civil society organizations. Under the Global Focal Point (GFP) umbrella, UNDP with MINUSCA, UN Women and the Team of Experts on Sexual Violence in Conflict have provided integrated and comprehensive assistance to transitional justice in the country. The assistance included expert consultations in drafting the laws, technical and operational support for the implementations of the mandates of the SCC and TJRRC, capacity building of and general accompanying provided for judges, clerks, lawyers, Commissioners, and ultimately victims.
- As of the end of November 2021, the SCC counted 237 complaints filed by victims, with most of them currently under investigation.
- Twenty-one persons have been placed in pre-trial detention, and 25 arrest warrants have been issued and awaited execution.
- 305 victims and witnesses, including 24 women, have benefited from SCC protection measures.
- A special unit of lawyers has been constituted, with 32 national and 17 international lawyers to ensure that all detainees were provided with court-appointed lawyers.
Through the legal clinics run by female jurists from civil society, service has been provided to over 31,000 Central Africans to ensure increased access to justice. To promote sustainable peace and the rule of law, these activities were complemented by support to security sector reform, ordinary courts, and people-centred approach to justice and security.
According to a UN-supported perception survey, 60 percent of the population view the SCC, and 57 percent view the TJRRC as indispensable for durable peace. Fifty four percent of respondents stated that ensuring accountability for perpetrators is a prerequisite for peace.1
- 1 Perception Survey on Justice, Peace and Security, 2021, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, UNDP, MINUSCA, at
http://www.peacebuildingdata.org/sites/m/pdf/CAR_Poll6_ENG.pdf and interactive map per indicator at