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International Day of Democracy 15th September 2020

On every 15th of September the International Day of Democracy is celebrated. It was formed in 2007 through a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly for encouraging governments to improve and consolidate democracy.

International Democracy Day offers a platform to study the world’s state of democracy. Democracy is a mechanism as much as an objective, and the concept of democracy can only be made a reality to everyone and all, with complete involvement and encouragement from the international community, the national governments, civil society and individuals.

The principles of freedom, respect for human rights and the principle of frequent and fair universal suffrage elections are fundamental to democracy. Democracy in turn provides the natural framework for the defence of human rights and their successful implementation. These principles are expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and further established in the Civil and Political Rights International Agreement, which enshrines various civil and political rights that underpin meaningful democracies. Article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights captures the link between democracy and human rights.

A spotlight on Democracy during the COVID-19 Pandemic

This year International Day of Democracy 2020 will focus on COVID-19- A Spotlight on Democracy.

Globally, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has brought significant social, political , and legal challenges. As countries around the world implement immediate steps in response to the crisis, the protection of the rule of law, upholding and maintaining international rights and universal legal principles and the right to access justice, solutions and due process are important.

The crisis poses the issue of how best to address negative discourse while preserving freedom of expression. Widespread attempts at removing misinformation or disinformation may lead to deliberate or accidental censorship that undermines confidence. Precise, reliable, and evidence-based knowledge from sources of confidence is the most successful response.

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said – “As the world confronts COVID-19, democracy is crucial in ensuring the free flow of information, participation in decision-making and accountability for the response to the pandemic.”

On 8 November 2007, the UN General Assembly voted to make September 15 the annual date for observing the International Day of Democracy. The meeting invited both government and non-governmental citizens and organisations to celebrate the International Day of Democracy. It also called on all governments to reinforce their national programmes to support and improve democracy. The assembly invited regional and other intergovernmental organisations to exchange experience in democracy promotion. In 2008, the first International Day of Democracy was celebrated.

Swikriti Dandotia

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