The term “Rule of Law” is derived from the French phrase ‘La Principe de Legality’ (the principle of legality). Rule of Law means that Law is supreme and is above every individual. No individual whether if he is rich, poor, rulers or ruled are above law and they should obey it. Laws are made for the welfare of the people to maintain harmony between the conflicting forces in society. Justice and the rule of law are also fundamental for development.
Rule of law has been part of the United Nation’s agenda for quite some time. The Secretary General has defined rule of law under the following terms: “For the United Nations, the rule of law refers to a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. the rule of law is a key element that provides context and, at the same time, qualifies the operation of other elements which are central for the observance of human rights.
We still live in a world where widespread human rights violations are the norm rather than the exception. Rule of law is seen as directly integral to the implementation of rights. The notion of rule of law is widely present in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In its preamble, it is stated “that human rights should be protected by the rule of law”.
What needs to be understood is the importance of rule of law when it comes to promoting equality, equal access, equal opportunity which are all fundamental to sustainable development, and how important it is to fighting inequality, which, of course, is at the heart of the human rights debate.
Furthermore, the rights enumerated in its Articles 3 to 11 all describe basic aspects of the rule of law; life, liberty and security, ban on slavery, recognition before the law, equality before the law, effective remedies by a competent tribunal, protection from arbitrary arrest, fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal & presumption of innocence.
The rule of law promotes inclusive economic growth and builds accountable institutions that underpin sustainable development. The rule of law helps make basic services such as education, health and sanitation available for all. The rule of law empowers citizens to address underlying causes of inequality and exclusion. The rule of law and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.