Globally, the International Day of Democracy is a unique platform for the review of the state of democracy in all parts of the world. Without a doubt, democracy which entails freedom within the confines of the law is only attainable and enjoyable in every part of the world with the maximum participation and full support of the international community, civil societies, national governing bodies, and individuals. Democratic values such as freedom, and respect of human rights, inclusive of periodic elections by the use of the universal suffrage, are essential in the path of any nation towards building herself as a global democracy.
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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an embodiment of democratic values. In its article 21 (3), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly captured the connection between democracy and human rights:
‘’The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”
The resolve of the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, to proclaim September 15 of every year as the International Day of Democracy was motivated by its drive towards promoting and upholding the tenets of democracy, a major motive behind the invitation of all member states to properly commemorate the day so as to create public awareness on the issue. Also, the preamble of the resolution which established September 15 clearly outlined the sovereignty of nations towards defining their path in democracy:
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“…while democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy and that democracy does not belong to any country or region… …democracy is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life.”
While the world continues fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the role of democracy towards ensuring the free dissemination of information, full participation in global decision-making, and accountability in response to COVID-19, cannot be underestimated. An ideal with universal recognition, democracy is one of the major values and principles of the United Nations. It makes available, a platform for the protection, expression, and realization of human rights.
“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.”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres
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