On SDGs and Law
by Rayan El Amine
Of the many respected members of the presentation, few are as versed and have as many man hours as the combination that was Gilberto Duarte and Kudzai Mukaratirwa. Often speaking on as complex and controversial a topic as “The Rule of Law”, especially as they link to the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of seventeen different goals reaching over 169 different topics regarding issues for the sustainable development of the world as a whole.
What was quite powerful was their ability to connect both pop culture and pivotal, world-altering decisions in a way that could both engage and keep the audience interested in a topic that could easily get muddled and lost. This began with a scene from the TV show, “13 Reasons Why”, and transitioned further into some existential ideas on law, the people, and how or why governments rule.
The Rule of Law placed itself as the opposite of this idea, a set of laws that exist in order to govern a people, regardless of their ideas, delegations or who they are. They began by establishing that laws need to be publicly available, prospective, understandable, consistent, possible to perform, stable, and enforced by the state. Where Duarte came in was through separating some of the myths that come with the Rule of Law. The first of which surrounded ideas of how Western principles dictate Rule of Law are. Her discussed Ashoka, an Indian emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty, on how he changed to become more tolerant of his people. He continued dispelling myths by connecting numerous SDGs to The Rule of Law, specifically SDG4 and SDG 16.
A collaborative group project brought further insight into how the Rule of Law works in the real world. Not only this, but in a display of Mukaratirwa and Duarte’s ingenuity, they added some social commentary onto the relationship between men and women, and the ridiculousness of sexism as a whole. By separating the women and men in a room into separate committees, and forcing the men to argue for their right to education, they forced every individual in that room to understand how difficult it is to not only argue for their rights, but also how important and difficult the suffrage movement was to the advancement of society as a whole.
Beyond relating the Rule of Law to broad subjects as a whole, Duarte strived to make a case for how the Rule of Law should be implemented into our daily lives. He strived to the necessity of Education, and how such an unbreakable, fundamental law should not contradict the value of human lives, rather, it should seek to connect, implement, and further social life, versus the commonly held misconception that the laws as a whole seek to dictate social order and human life.
Duarte ended his speech by pushing students to take hold of the lives in front of them, to grab the presented ideas, to seek to understand what seems complex, and to know that the value of human lives will always, always push farther than the importance of social order. In that laws are created by humans, for the benefit of humans, rather than by humans, to control humans.