E INVERTED SDG goals icons individual RGB 16Sustainable Development Goal 16

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels



Violent conflicts have increased in recent years, while homicides have declined slowly and more citizens around the world have better access to justice. A few high-intensity armed conflicts are causing large numbers of civilian casualties. Progress promoting peace and justice, together with effective, accountable and inclusive institutions, remains uneven across and within regions.

  • In 2015, between 5.2 persons and 6.7 persons per 100,000 persons worldwide were victims of intentional homicide. While the homicide rate has declined over the past decade, people in some countries located in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia face increased risk of intentional murder.
  • Various forms of violence against children persist, including discipline that relies on physical punishment and psychological aggression. In 76 countries (most are developing countries) with available data from 2005 to 2016, about 8 in 10 children from 1 to 14 years of age were subjected to some form of psychological aggression and/or physical punishment on a regular basis.
  • Countries have made solid progress in terms of detecting victims of trafficking in persons, as reflected by the increasing number of detected victims over the last decade. Globally, more women and girls than men and boys were identified as victims of trafficking in 2014. However, the share of women and girls has slowly retreated, from 84 per cent in 2004 to 71 per cent in 2014. While the share of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation has declined, the proportion of those trafficked for forced labour has increased. About 28 per cent of all trafficking victims detected in 2014 were children, with girls outnumbering boys (20 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively, of total victims).
  • Sexual violence is perhaps the most disturbing of children’s rights violations. Underreporting and a lack of comparable data limit understanding of the full extent of the problem. In 35 low- and middle-income countries with data, the proportions of women between 18 and 29 years of age who experienced sexual violence for the first time before 18 years of age ranged from 0 per cent to 16 per cent.
  • Rates of pretrial detention suggest that progress with respect to the rule of law and access to justice has been slow. Globally, the proportion of people held in detention without being sentenced for a crime has remained almost unchanged — from 32 per cent of total prisoners in 2003-2005 to 31 per cent in 2013-2015 — which indicates that substantive progress has not been achieved in the ability of judicial systems to process and try the accused in a fair and transparent manner.
  • Opaque, burdensome and inefficient regulations and procedures nurture opportunities for corrupt officials to extract bribes or unofficial payments. In 2015, over 18 per cent of firms worldwide reported receiving at least one bribery payment request. The share of firms in low- and lower-middle-income countries totalled 25 per cent, compared to 4 per cent in high-income countries.
  • To provide a sound basis for development, government budgets should be comprehensive, transparent and realistic. While expenditure in nearly 2 in 3 countries was within 10 per cent of their original national budgets, more than 1 in 7 countries deviated by at least 15 per cent. Nevertheless, budget reliability has improved over time, with about 8 in 10 countries in Southern Asia and Eastern Asia and the Pacific showing improvement.
  • Birth registration is a first step towards safeguarding individual rights and providing every person with access to justice and social services. While many regions have reached universal or near universal birth registration, globally the average is just 71 per cent, on the basis of available country data reported from 2010 to 2016. Fewer than half (46 per cent) of all children under 5 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa have had their births registered.
  • Legislation that calls for freedom of information has increased steadily, but slow or inefficient implementation of such laws remains a concern. More than 110 countries have adopted freedom of information legislation and policies. However, expert assessments suggest that 47 of those countries fall short of having clear legal provisions for exceptions to that right, while another 47 countries lack sufficient provisions for public education.
  • Independent national human rights institutions play an important role in ensuring that States deliver on their human rights obligations and that no one is left behind. By the end of 2016, 37 per cent of countries had a national human rights institution that was compliant with internationally agreed standards (the Paris Principles), while 57 per cent of countries had been reviewed for compliance by their peers.

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