Rule of law is based on an independent judiciary, the equality of all citizens before the law, the priority of the constitution and respect for human rights at civic and political level.
On the ground, the SDC encourages governance in countries of the East and South so as to improve the social, political, economic and environmental conditions of their citizens. Empowerment – the emancipation of individuals and of poor and extremely poor groups – and the encouragement of equal participation by women and men rank high among its concerns.
In conflict or post-conflict situations, the SDC supports national human rights institutions in order to protect refugees and internally displaced persons. In Afghanistan, Nepal and Colombia for instance the SDC also cooperates closely with multilateral organizations like the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights or the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Rule of law requires the existence of a consistent, binding legal framework for the work of government authorities. This also entails the application of immutable rules for peaceful coexistence in society, as well as respecting the dignity and rights of the individual, including the poorest and socially most marginalized.
That is why international cooperation makes every effort to foster access to justice and to promote rule of law, supporting reform of the judiciary, police and institutions responsible for penal enforcement. In addition, it cooperates with national human rights committees and NGOs to protect and nurture the rights of the individual and of poor and disadvantaged groups.