The SDG Temple of Justice
The Sixth Pillar:
Right to an Effective Remedy
The eight pillars of legal empowerment
of the SDG Temple of Justice
The blueprint presented here seeks to help realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by leveraging the human rights foundation of SDGs through the eight pillars of rights relating to legal empowerment of the people including the poor and vulnerable groups.
Why the right to an effective remedy matters for the SDGs?
Even when appropriate legal and other measures to protect and promote human rights are in place, breaches of rights can still occur. The right to an effective remedy is an essential component of human rights under the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) and some other human rights instruments.
As an overriding obligation under international law, which is implicit in the principle of the rule of law, the right to an effective remedy is meant to provide effective domestic remedies for violations of human rights. This obligation applies equally to economic and social rights as to civil and political rights. The primary aim of recognizing the right to an effective remedy is to increase judicial protection offered to individuals who wish to complain about an alleged violation of their human rights. In that sense, the right to an effective remedy is an essential pre-condition for an effective human rights policy.
In this context, the right to an effective remedy has a direct positive impact on realizing SDG 16, especially SDG 16.3
Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.
Recognition of the right to an effective remedy in international human rights instruments:
ICCPR Article 2.3 states:
Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes:
(a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity;
(b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his right thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy;
(c) To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when granted.
Other instruments similarly require that effective remedies be available:
Article 14 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT);
Article 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW);
Article 6 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD); and
implicitly required in article 4 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).