Speech by |
HE Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasem Bin Jabor Al Thani Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
Restructuring Global Governance
Law Forum- Qatar
Doha, 30 May 2009
Your Highnesses and Excellencies|
Ladies and gentlemen
It's a pleasure to welcome you all in the State of Qatar to participate in the Law Forum which is held for the first time in our country. We are happy to have this senior level of law specialists and judges and grateful for the organizers for the efforts they paid to hold this forum. We are also looking forward with utmost attention to the visions emanating from your thoughts and discussions which we will return to for help during the march of law at the local, regional and international levels.
Ladies and gentlemen
The work of law, as we know, is to organize social life on the basis of upholding Man's freedoms and defining his duties, and this role must be based on the foundation of freedom and equality in a way that reconciles the individual freedoms with the duties that achieve the common good of the society. In other words, individual freedom stops at the limit of the duties imposed by law to ensure the rights of other individuals. The ultimate goal, of course, is to ensure peaceful coexistence in the human society, which is the basis of the social system and its wherewithal to survive and develop. This is the sublime goal of law that can not be realized without the rule of law.
As you know, the concept of the rule of law is one of the national Constitution's principles; and hence, it is not possible for the public authorities in a particular country to exercise their authority except by virtue of written laws promulgated in accordance with the constitutional procedures that conform with the Constitution with view to realizing the principle of protection against arbitrary rules in individual cases. This concept is clearly manifest in democratic rule which adopts human development on the basis of good governance in which political, economic and administrative authorities are exercised at all levels including the private sector and civil society, as the State alone is incapable of building the democratic and just society in which ruling by transparency, accountability, efficiency and justice is materialized.
Ladies and gentlemen
Democracy is the starting point and our vision of democracy in Qatar was defined by the policies of HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar since he took power in 1995. The gist of these policies is that the ideal means to realizing peace, security, justice and comprehensive development is the building of democracy without overlooking the cultural particularities of our own society.
We have embarked on this approach from a realistic foundation by a persistent effort to build the State of institutions, human rights and the effective popular participation in management and governance in accordance with the principles of transparency and accountability which involves the opinion of the majority people based on the national Constitution which was endorsed by the Qataris' vote and enforced in 2005. The Constitution stipulates clearly that the rule of law is the foundation of governance in the State and adopts a host of principles to achieve this goal among which is the separation between authorities and observance of the Constitution's provisions and ensuring equality among people and protecting their rights and freedoms.
For this reason we have embarked upon a process of ongoing review of present legislation on the basis of the Constitution in order to modernize and harmonize it with the requirements of sustainable development and progress to the level of advancement that we seek for our country in various spheres of life. We do not rule out the possibility of needing to redress the drawbacks in the legislation, which arose as a result of development in the legal field. We therefore look forward to what should be taken in this regard, and that is what we hope from the discussions and opinions of the participants in this forum.
Ladies and gentlemen
I would now like to turn to the global commitment to the rule of law, an overall theme of the topics of the agenda of this forum. Needless to say, the consolidation of the rule of law principle at the national level is not sufficient unless adopted at the international level since no country lives in isolation from other countries. Therefore, there is a necessity to organize international relations in a way that upholds rights and imposes duties on the basis of the rule of law. It is no secret that the United Nations has been considering this issue for years as an item on the agenda of the General Assembly through its Sixth Legal Committee. In fact, the rule of law at the international level has been a goal that pre-dates the establishment of the United Nations, but just like the rule of law at the national level, the pursuit to realize it should be persistent. In this endeavor, efforts should be focused on common accepted values on the basis of the commitments stipulated in the UN charter and the international law in general which should be respected as two indispensable pillars for a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. We should acknowledge that peace, security, development, human rights, rule of law and democracy are intertwined and reinforce each other and that they are global values which constitute an indivisible whole. Thus, it is illogical to call for the establishment of these goals at the national level and bypass them at the international level.
The question now is: how does this apply to the world from the perspective of the rule of law?
It is a recognized fact that we live in one world within the framework of a world order established following Second World War represented by the United Nations and its charter and its specialized affiliated agencies in addition to several regional organizations established within this framework. The evident goal of all of this is to organize international affairs on the basis of recognized goals and principles that realize common good that ensues from interdependence of the members of the international community in their joint life.
It's axiomatic that interests are a reflection of individual or collective visions, regarding securing the needs of human life that are subject to continuous evolution, and consequently, reality constantly poses new challenges that require confrontation in order to achieve common interest.
In this world, we face common challenges in several domains among which are economy, finance, environment, technology in addition to political domain related to international peace and security. It is generally recognized that handling these challenges require examining the organizational frameworks of the currently dominant global system due to the emergence of two important elements which are: first: fundamental changes that have occurred in the structural composition of the international community and the emergence of new poles or polar groups. Second: diversity in the current and future needs that should be provided in order to avoid the threats resulting from their lacking.
Likewise, the threats and problems that we face in this century do not recognize national borders of countries, and if our reality embodied by globalization emphasizes more than ever the state of interdependence, then we should recognize that confronting the problems and challenges of the era can never be based on the logic of force and authoritarianism whether by military force or otherwise. We should realize that the world has changed and it is no longer a world in which only the West interacts; rather, there are other effective elements from Asia, Africa, and Latin America that led to the enforcement of interdependence and expansion of the international social texture among nations.
It is no secret that the global economic and financial crisis has imposed on us a lesson that we should learn and that is we need a new governance system to redress the failures of the present world order on the basis of a set of principles, organizations and processes that help the world in tackling the problems that generate results and effects that go beyond the borders of one country or one group of people or one scope of human activities. In other words, we need a modernized approach to organize the interdependence in such a way that realizes common good on a basis of rules and criteria that define rights and responsibilities commensurate with capacities.
It was proved in the contemporary financial crisis that the biggest owners of the financial and economic power were the first victims before damage befell others. Even in armed conflicts, the victorious often suffer from grave post-conflict damages and undergo innumerable problems in human life fields. This logic applies also to all world problems and consequently it is necessary to adopt a steady political will that works for the benefit of all and this political will should be established on the foundation of the force of law. I believe that you are aware that human catastrophes inflicted on states and nations, in the past and present, were caused by negligence of committing to the rule of law in accordance with UN charter and international law.
Ladies and gentlemen
The initiative that we launched together with the Swiss Federation and Singapore includes a program for an international research encompassing all the effective parties as of countries and civil society organizations and business sector in order to stimulate efforts and collect ideas and proposals and visions regarding defining the necessary reforms and amendments, new bodies, rules and regulations. Qatar has taken the responsibility of sponsoring the efforts of this international open-membership group, and it is a pleasure to see the themes of the forum's agenda include a wide range of questions within the aforementioned domains. We are looking forward eagerly to the outcomes of the discussions and visions of this high level of law and judiciary experts.
In conclusion, I wish you a happy stay in Qatar and success for this forum.