The IBA’s response to the war in Ukraine  

IBA President congratulates President Joe Biden as human rights put centre of new administration

Friday 22 January 2021

On behalf of the International Bar Association (IBA), I congratulate Joseph R Biden Jr on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States and look forward to the restoration of a multilateral model of international affairs.

As the global voice of the legal profession, the IBA works to ensure global stability and peace through the administration of justice and support of the rule of law. In this respect, we look forward to the Biden Administration promoting the rule of law and championing human rights as main centrepieces of US foreign policy, as well as consigning coddling and praise of authoritarian governments to the past.

We fervently hope that President Biden will restore US alliances, a global strategy and America’s credibility by securing a foundation for an openminded rules based international order, and solidarity with like-minded democracies.

Furthermore, we look forward to America reengaging with the global trading system, abandoning trade wars and attacks on the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Also, during what is an unprecedented health crisis in world history, we applaud President Biden’s decision to reverse his predecessor’s decision to leave the World Health Organisation (WHO). American membership of the WHO is vital for a collaborative international response to COVID-19 and any future pandemics.

As the other urgent challenge of climate change has been side-lined in recent times, it is heartening that President Biden has committed America to once again taking ‘a leading role in the fight against climate change’. We welcome his pledged immediate re-joining of the Paris Agreement and embrace the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In the weeks ahead, we hope that President Biden will also overturn Executive Order 13928 – the addition of the International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor and personnel to the ‘Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List’; a move which the IBA roundly condemned. Furthermore, in the interests of international justice, we are hopeful that President Biden’s administration will provide greater support to the Court.

Undoubtedly, the world expects much of the new Biden Administration. The challenges are stark, daunting and immense. However, with a lawyer with great decorum at the helm, placing the rule of law, diversity and equality at the centre of decision making, we are optimistic. The IBA wishes President Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris and the entire team the very best. 

Sternford Moyo
President, International Bar Association

Thursday 21 January 2021