Welcome to 'At the Corner of Here and Everywhere'

Welcome to 'At the Corner of Here and Everywhere'

 
The International Team at LexisNexis Matthew Bender is pleased to bring you on-line our new international rule of law and human rights information center, dubbed “At the Corner of Here and Everywhere”. While our business depends intimately upon the observance of the rule of law, we at LexisNexis - from our CEO on down - recognize that the lives and well-being of every person on this planet depend upon the observance of the rule of law and respect for each individual’s human rights everywhere on the globe. As I write this introduction, it is clear from the News headlines on our Web Center page that in some nations the level of observance is high, in others it is practically non-existent, with a wide range in between. 
 
Doesn’t it appear obvious that the standard of observance of these principles should be at the highest possible level everywhere? This is not a naïve rhetorical question. For those who are new to this area of law, or have not considered it for a while for whatever reasons, it is important to note that the non-lawyer world has come to understand and embrace the Rule of Law as a key ingredient to prosperity and peace both on a local basis as well as on a global basis. Economists and businessmen are coming to understand that sustained economic growth and stability only flow where the rule of law is observed. Investment generally abhors chaos and civil unrest, both of which destroy its fruit, and return on investment generally requires consumers and lots of them at some level – whether institutional, commercial or individual – which one cannot have if people are constrained from free exercise of lawful activities and afraid to spend and plan for their futures. Markets require customers and customer bases are eroded where the rule of law and human rights observance are weak. If you still are not convinced and think unseen market forces will somehow magically right the wrongs, or that each nation gets the government it deserves, you may agree with the inconclusive statements in The Economist article “Order in the Jungle” (March 13, 2008). However, one only needs to consider the drain on economies and societies that bribery and public and private sector corruption alone play in distorting competition and driving up prices; couple that with other rule of law and human rights abuses and you have the situation which exists in too many communities around the world today, even in the so-called “developed” world. We would suggest that the skeptical visit the World Bank’s “Doing Business” website or Transparency International’s website to learn more.   
 
“At the Corner of Here and Everywhere” includes a list of texts and websites as points of basic reference and learning about the rule of law and human rights. 2008 marks the 60th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, and it a commonplace statement that human rights require the rule of law for their recognition and protection. Recognizing that there is an inevitable connection between the rule of law, human rights and the marketplace,  the UN has appointed a Special Representative for Business and Human Rights to try to monitor the impact of corporate behavior which may be too short-term and quick profit oriented to understand the devastating or predatory impacts of its actions on market stability and sustained growth.
 
As one reads the Universal Declaration, one is struck by the number of violations that fill the news from all over the world today. Somaly Mam’s personal experience and campaign attests to the extensive sex slavery industry around the world that preys upon young women and children. The images and suffering in Darfur, Somalia, and Zimbabwe are but the more recent proofs of injustice and human rights abuses. As much as some positivists would protest, the truth is that law and its rule cannot really subsist in an environment that is amoral and/or immoral. As the old “Up With People” song goes: ”You can’t live crooked and think straight!”.   
 
 As legal professionals, can we afford to turn a blind eye to these abuses? As legal professionals, can we be unconcerned that our fellow lawyers in other countries, who simply seek due process and to assert the same rights that we take for granted in our home jurisdictions, are being arrested, abused and even killed for doing what a lawyer is supposed to do? There are several ways to get involved in this struggle, which is ultimately a struggle for human dignity to be respected everywhere. As a starting point, we have listed several organizations specifically for lawyers and some for general participation that provide an opportunity for you to get involved. 
 
We trust that you will find “At the Corner of Here and Everywhere” informative and enlightening.
 

Comments

Thomas J.R. Stadnik, Esq.
  • 08-13-2008

Update to Blog Entry by Tom Stadnik: Since the launch of the International Rule of Law page, LexisNexis has reiterated its commitment to the Rule of Law by joining in the sponsorship of the World Justice Project''s "World Justice Forum" that was held in Vienna, Austria, from July 2-5, 2008.  That effort also led to the creation by LexisNexis of a new website, the Rule of Law Resource Center, the aim of which is to offer a space dedicated to human rights and rule of law issues on an open website where advocates and the world community can share information, ideas, and best practices.  You will find a link to the Rule of Law Resource Center in the Right Navigation column of this page.