Remarks at a Third Committee Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Dr. Margaret Satterthwaite

Patrick Breen
U.S. Adviser for the Third Committee
New York, New York
October 20, 2023


Thank you, Madam Special Rapporteur, for your continuous efforts to foster independent judicial systems globally.

Respecting the rule of law and an independent judiciary means allowing lawyers to represent human rights defenders, and judges to rule without fear of retribution – both are necessary for peaceful, inclusive, and democratic societies.

Unfortunately, in many parts of the world judges make decisions not based on the rule of law but on instructions from government officials; outcomes often appear predetermined rather than reflecting the legal merits of the case.

When judges are not able to act independently, it limits the ability of individuals to seek justice, for example in cases concerning torture, housing discrimination, or environmental pollution.

Supporting a robust judiciary also means taking steps to ensure that the legal profession is inclusive. We encourage efforts to increase the number of women judges and lawyers in states that have had historically lower female representation in their legal systems.

When a state enables persons from every facet of society to become judges and operate independently, the human rights of all members of society are better protected.

Our question is, as we see increasing attempts to limit the independence of judiciaries, how can we support efforts to increase public awareness of the important role that independent judicial systems play in protecting human rights?

Thank you.