UN Rights Chief: Institutional reform is key to a sustainable transition to democracy in the Middle East and North Africa

UN Rights Chief: Institutional reform is key to a sustainable transition to democracy in the Middle East and North Africa

“Experience shows that democratic transition is incomplete, if it fails to include appropriate institutional reforms” Ms. Pillay argued, pointing to transitional justice processes, an independent and impartial judiciary, effective national human rights institutions and security forces subject to civilian oversight as key areas to be addressed in the transition.

A sustainable transition to democracy requires an end to impunity and the ensuring of accountability as “failure to adequately strengthen new institutions tends to lead not only to impunity for past human rights violations but to further violations, corruption and organized crime” the High Commissioner warned.

Ms. Pillay also drew attention to the role of civil society participation and the role of media as an indispensable “watchdog” for democracy to flourish.

The High Commissioner recognized that there were promising steps taken by some countries in addressing the need for initiation of important reforms. These steps must be encouraged Ms. Pillay added, emphasizing the need to address the range of issues that first brought people to the streets.