International Rule of Law

International Rule of Law

Promoting the international rule of law through both U.S. governmental policies and the ABA's international technical and legal assistance programs is important to ABA members and the international community. The ABA supports adequate funding for the overall U.S. international affairs budget and increased funding specifically for domestic and international agencies and programs that promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, including through the ABA Rule of Law Initiative and Center for Human Rights. In addition, U.S. engagement and leadership in multilateral and international organizations are critical to promoting the rule of law. Therefore, the ABA also supports the prompt payment of the United States’ obligations to the United Nations and supports the U.S. rejoining or remaining engaged with important UN bodies, such as the Human Rights Council and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Overview

One of the ABA's primary goals is to advance the rule of law in the world. In furtherance of that goal, the ABA strongly supports adequate funding for the overall U.S. international affairs budget and increased funding specifically for domestic and international agencies and programs that promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

U.S. engagement and leadership in multilateral and international organizations is also key to promoting the rule of law. Therefore, the ABA also supports the prompt payment of the United States’ obligations to the United Nations and supports the U.S. rejoining or remaining engaged with important UN bodies, such as the Human Rights Council and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Status

On May 16, 2019, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY2020 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill. The bill provides the ABA-requested $2.4 billion for Democracy Programs, and provides overall funding of $56.4 billion -$2.2 billion above the FY2019 enacted level and $13.7 billion above the Administration’s budget request.

On March 11, 2019, the Administration submitted its FY2020 Budget Request to Congress. The request provides just over $1.2 billion for Democracy Programs and an overall funding level of $40 billion, a 23% cut from the previous fiscal year.

ABA Advocacy

6/3/19 - ABA President Bob Carlson submitted a statement to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs to support FY2020 funding for programs that promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

4/9/19 - Statement of ABA President Bob Carlson Re: Restricting International Criminal Court Officials' Visas

3/12/19 - the ABA testified before the House State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee regarding the importance of continuing U.S. leadership and support for the promotion of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law around the world, including through robust FY 2020 funding for the Democracy Programs account. See the written statement here and the oral testimony here (at the 1:43 mark).

3/8/19 - Statement of Bob Carlson, ABA president Re: International Women’s Day

1/29/19 - Statement of Bob Carlson, ABA president Re: Unrest in Zimbabwe

1/24/19 - Statement of ABA President Bob Carlson marking the 2019 International Day of the Endangered Lawyer

1/14/19 - Statement of Bob Carlson, ABA president Re: Changes to the Hungarian Court System

1/11/19 - ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the Senate State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee expressing the ABA’s concern that the Guatemalan government is continuing to ignore the decisions of that country’s Constitutional Court, threatening efforts to establish the rule of law in Guatemala, to stem the flow of narcotics, and to address the migration challenges in the region, and urging that the U.S. make clear that there will be consequences if the Guatemalan government continues to ignore the orders of the Court or seeks to undermine its independence.

12/28/18 - Statement of Bob Carlson, ABA president Re: Threats to rule of law in Guatemala

See other ABA communications here.


Additional Resources and Links

ABA Section of International Law
ABA Rule of Law Initiative 
ABA Center for Human Rights
InterAction
U.S. Global Leadership Coalition
Better World Campaign
United Nations Association of the USA
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
House Foreign Affairs Committee
House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
US Department of State
U.S. Agency for International Development
United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations


Contact:

Kristi Gaines
Senior Legislative Counsel
Governmental Affairs Office
American Bar Association
1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Direct: (202) 662-1763
FAX: (202) 662-1762
Kristi.Gaines@americanbar.org