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Background

Rule of law: protecting citizens from arbitrary rule by the state

Prison inmate in Bujumbura, Burundi

Rule of law is a prerequisite for peace, freedom and sustainable development. Furthermore, it helps countries achieve all the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development more quickly. It forms the basis for a functioning democracy and is a key element of good governance.

The German government believes that the principles of the rule of law, democracy, the welfare state and human rights are interdependent, and frames its development policy accordingly. However, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for establishing structures based on the rule of law since every country has its own particular history and constitutional traditions. It would not do simply to transplant the German legal system to other countries. Rather, in its cooperation with developing countries and emerging economies, Germany always seeks to analyse the existing structures in each country and come up with solutions and support measures suited to that country.

Germany helps the countries with which it cooperates to establish and consolidate the rule of law. In this work, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) works with governments as well as actors in civil society. The aim is to strengthen the role played by the law and ensure it provides guidance for life in society and protects the individual.

The Federal Republic of Germany offers its development partners an array of support measures. It provides advice on drafting bills for new legislation and helps with the setting up of a judiciary as well as with training and advanced training of personnel working in the justice system or in law enforcement agencies.

BMZ glossary

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