International Development Law Organization

IDLO's Annual Assembly Marked by Spirited Debates

27 Nov 2013

“Italy is actively engaged in the global effort to advance the rule of law and strongly supports IDLO, whose contribution to this effort is its very raison d’être,” Italian Minister for Integration Cécile Kyenge said. She was speaking at IDLO’s Assembly of Parties, on November 26.

The event – the highest-level get together in the organization’s calendar – is an occasion for member states to meet, discuss strategies and endorse budgets. Ambassadors and delegates from countries as far apart as the United States and China, as well as host nation Italy, heard that IDLO had vastly expanded its programming work, while remaining financially sound and setting the tone in the global conversation about the rule of law.

“Advancing the rule of law – and I would add ‘principled’ rule of law – should engage us all […] to build a better future for the generations to come,” Ms. Kyenge said. “By ‘principled’ rule of law - in a nutshell - I mean a rule of law that is geared to building inclusive, pluralistic societies, where all are enabled to contribute to progress and can share its benefits.”

“The threats to peace and stability, which are, directly or indirectly, the result of injustice, are mounting,” Ms. Kyenge added. “No country is immune. Violence and intolerable instances of discrimination occur everywhere, even in times of peace, and in democratic states where the rule of law is supposed to prevail.”

At the meeting in Rome, Ms. Kyenge shared a platform with Nobel Peace laureate and Iranian feminist lawyer Shirin Ebadi – the first time IDLO’s Assembly of Parties was attended by leading external personalities.

In a hard-hitting speech, Dr. Ebadi called on governments to respect and cooperate with the International Criminal Court. She also spoke of the way religion serves, in some countries , as an alibi to “oppress one half of the population: women”. This argument was further developed later in the evening, during an IDLO-sponsored debate on ‘Women and the Law’ at the Italian parliament. (Fellow panelists included Senator Stefania Giannini, Francesca Traclò of social science academic body Fondazione Rosselli, and Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Director of the Washington-based Global Women’s Leadership Initiative.)

“You too in the west have your share of responsibility,” Dr. Ebadi, who lives in exile in London, said. “How can you hope to bring peace to Syria when you only speak to a bunch of bearded men? You must insist that there are women around the table. And when you have countries where women don’t even have the right to drive, you make sure you send 20 women ambassadors there.”