UN International Day of Democracy – September 15, 2023
Let’s celebrate United Nations International Day of Democracy on Friday, September 15, 2023. “While the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in major challenges globally, a new upheaval in Europe is reminding the world that our democratic principles are constantly under threat. In fact, now more than ever Democracy is backsliding, civic space is shrinking, distrust, mis- and disinformation are growing while threats to the freedom of journalists and media workers are expanding by the day”. This year, Democracy Day will focus on the importance of media freedom to democracy, peace, and delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals.
It is time to seize the moment to build a more equal, inclusive and sustainable world, with full respect for human rights. The values of freedom, respect for human rights and the principle of holding periodic and genuine elections by universal suffrage are essential elements of democracy. In turn, democracy provides the natural environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights. These values are embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and further developed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which enshrines a host of political rights and civil liberties underpinning meaningful democracies.
The C19 pandemic has brought to the surface long neglected injustices and the need to improve health systems, worker protections, education and training access as well as the digital divide. Protecting democracies is critical to ensuring the free flow of information, participation in decision-making and accountability of governments for those decisions. Justice and inclusion, in the spirit of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and particularly Sustainable Development Goal 16, will need to be central elements of the recovery effort. Thank you to all those individuals that have strengthened democracies around the world.
“Free, independent and pluralistic media, able to keep the public informed on matters of public interest, is a key ingredient to democracy. It enables the public to make informed decisions and hold governments to account. When media freedoms are under threat - the flow of information can be stifled, skewed or cut off entirely. Increasingly, journalists around the world face limits to their ability to operate freely – with a grave impact on human rights, democracy and development.” (United Nations)
Democracy is as much a process as a goal, and only with the full participation of and support by the international community, national governing bodies, civil society and individuals, can the ideal of democracy be made into a reality to be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere. I want to thank teachers, college and university professors, lawyers, legal assistants, judges, librarians, public policy professionals and historians for your efforts to safe-guard democracies. There are hundreds of occupations or jobs that play a role in safe-guarding our democracies – take a moment to thank individuals that you think have made a difference… #UNInternationalDemocracyDay, #DemocracyDay #UNCareerandLivelihoodDay