Standards of Good Governance
No governance is good without respect for human rights
This is an axiom in the definition and assessment of good governance
and its performance.
The subject of human rights has become part of the details of
everyday public life. Human rights themselves have not only become
an approach which governments are required to abide by, but also
a measure of the type and viability of governance, and even a mean
of evaluating its future.
The term ‘good governance’ may be new in Arab literature, but
is extensively used as a genuine human rights term.
Good governance is governance in which the following conditions
Availability of democratic institutions, which allow individuals
to participate in public affairs.
Successful delivery of state services to the people, such as
the services of education, health, housing, employment and others,
which are among the rights of people.
Governance based on the rule of law, which means that laws should
apply to everybody without discrimination. The law is applied fairly
and in a manner that preserves the rights of individuals. It is
the law that protects the fundamental freedoms of society and provides
a haven for individuals against the predominance of the executive
Finally, good governance is one that combats corruption, including
the wastage of public funds, transgression of the law and nepotism
in favour of certain segments or members of the society. By curbing
corruption, good governance is realized in terms of having effective
institutions which discharge their functions properly, to serve
the public interests.
Based on the above features, seeking good governance, is a continuous
and ongoing pursuit. Some regimes may develop and acquire the description
of ‘good governance’, while others may deteriorate and hence be
described as ‘lacking good governance’ (e.g. corrupt, authoritarian,
Hence, countries are not only required to persistently work towards
integration and the improvement of conditions in order to gain the
satisfaction of the people and be renowned for ‘good governance’,
but they are also required to monitor their status, lest they slip
backwards and lose what they have achieved.
Good governance according to the above standards can only be
a protector of human rights, in their multiple fields. Not only
protects the individual from being harmed by the authorities, but
also protects them in their pursuit to acquire and exercise political,
civil, social, economic and cultural rights, just as expressed in
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the two international
Covenants (ICCPR & ICESCR). Thus, any application of ‘good governance’
standards will necessarily serve human rights directly.
Despite the fact that the concept of ‘good governance’ is linked
to the concept of ‘human rights’, the latter is separate and not
a part of the former, and needs extra attention. For example, ‘good
governance’ needs to exert great efforts in the development of legislative
frameworks, policies and programs and budget allocations, etc.,
to enable the respect and development of human rights.
Good governance is responsible for providing the favourable environment
for human rights and enabling their cultural and practical concepts
to seep into the state institutions and the community. It is noticeable
that the principles of human rights are almost identical to the
principles underpinning good governance, with respect to achieving:
(accountability, transparency, equity, non - discrimination, participation,
equality, adoption of efficiency, etc.). On this basis, it could
be said, without reservation that: Good governance is the governance
which protects, preserves and defends human rights..
There is a final noteworthy point, which is that many countries
are keen on providing their citizens with public services (which
are among the human rights the responsibility of providing falls
on the state) such as health, education, accommodation, employment
etc. But these countries may be reluctant to provide the political
rights of the community. In this respect, governance that fails
to provide political rights is not considered as good governance,
and in that case the drawbacks of preventing the political participation
of citizens may have detrimental effects even on the state’s performance
in providing the other services.
In other words, the existence of political participation, the
rule of law and the provision of services to citizens, are all interlinked.
Thus, it is impossible to combat corruption, achieve the rule of
law or provide services properly and continuously without allowing
every citizen to have an opinion, a position and participation in