The rule of law is arguably the most basic requirement of any civilized society, and an independent judiciary, to which access is available to all citizens, is an essential ingredient of the rule of law. Freedom of expression is also fundamental in a democratic society, in which the courts and the media have vital and complementary institutional roles. Together, they hold power to account, enforce the rights of individuals and shed light on matters of public interest - and they also monitor each other. The media have been described as the watchdogs of democracy, highlighting democratic deficits and demanding accountability from elected officials. And judges have no more important role than to hold the Government to account when it does not adhere to the law and to uphold the rights of individuals. And there is no more vital right than freedom of expression.
The representation of women in the judiciary is significant for many reasons. Besides ensuring that the legal system is developed with all of society in mind and that in turn a representative perspective is brought to adjudication, the inspiration it provides to the next generation of female judges gives them continued motivation to achieve their goals. And while equality in the judiciary has been historically uneven, steps are being taken to remedy this, as evidenced by the acceptance of a new United Nations General Assembly Resolution marking 10 March as the International Day of Women Judges. This Resolution, drafted by the State of Qatar, is tangible proof of an evident positive shift underway in several geographic regions.
On 12 March 2020, the Norwegian Government implemented the strictest and most invasive measures ever introduced in Norway in peacetime in the hopes of stopping or slowing down the spread of COVID-19 infections. The courts quickly had to address how best to handle their role in society in a prudent manner. It was quickly realized that something had to be done to find alternatives to physical court sessions. For most court cases, alternative ways for processing the cases were considered: either in writing, as remote sessions or as a combination of both.
Sport can be a powerful tool to engage communities and prevent crime, violence and potentially drug use among youth. In the context of the 64 th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, international experts gathered virtually during a side event to discuss what the evidence says about the role of sport in supporting youth to prevent drug use and address related risk and protective factors.
Sport, and physical activity more broadly, can also be effective in promoting wellbeing and health, including mental health and reducing the risk of depression, as well as improve the cognitive functions and academic outcomes of young people and adolescents.
In the context of its Youth Crime Prevention through Sport initiative under the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, UNODC continues to support and engage Palestinian youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on the Line Up Live Up sport-based curriculum, which was piloted for the first time in Palestine in 2018, the Office continues engaging young people through the development of awareness-raising material using a participatory video approach. A selected group of young teachers, Line Up Live Up trainers, and mass communication students received 20 virtual sessions of training on developing their own audio-visual material, along with messaging on violence, crime and drug use and on the role of sport in building youth and community resilience.