What is the Rule of Law?

What is the rule of law anyway?   Anti-immigrant groups use this term quite frequently to clarify their position on immigration.  Supposedly the “rule of law” would state that if a person is undocumented they should be removed.  However, it does not take into account human rights, personal circumstance or anything else one would consider when humbly judging another human being.

According to most attempts to define “the rule of law” the most important consideration is in fact human rights and the individual freedom.  Laws are meant to protect freedom and promote liberty.  In this way the government works for the people as a whole rather than promoting only a select few over others.  According to the UN Charter:

Today, the concept of the rule of law is embedded in the Charter of the United Nations. In its Preamble, one of the aims of the UN is “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”. A primary purpose of the Organization is “to maintain international peace and security… and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the historic international recognition that all human beings have fundamental rights and freedoms, recognizes that “… it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law…”

“Human rights should be protected by the rule of law.” This does not exclude those ‘humans’ anti-immigrant groups choose to demonize or marginalize. When we all wake up and see each other as humans treating one another with dignity and respect we will quickly see how things will change for the better. Immigration is a global issue. Somehow many feel that our fighting a war abroad is ok because it protects our local freedoms yet they don’t grasp the fact that actions abroad effect immigration through tyranny and oppression endured elsewhere.

What is the Rule of Law?


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