International Day of Democracy
The International Day of Democracy provides an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the world. 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.
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.
At each of the key moments that have marked contemporary history, UNESCO has supported the peaceful development of societies by contributing to the construction and consolidation of democracy, and the development of democratic institutions, especially in times of transition.
Since its foundation, the Organization seeks to promote the aspirations of all people, especially young women and men, to strive for the realization of shared universal values, such as tolerance, pluralism, the respect of human rights, freedom and dialogue.
In 2007 the United Nations General Assembly resolved to observe 15 September as the International Day of Democracy—to promote and uphold the principles of democracy—and invited all member states and organizations to commemorate the day in an appropriate manner that contributes to raising public awareness.
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.
what is democracy?
Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system
History of democracy day
In September 1997 the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) adopted a Universal Declaration on Democracy. That Declaration affirms the principles of democracy, the elements and exercise of democratic government, and the international scope of democracy.
The international conferences on new and restored democracies(ICNRD process) began in 1988 under the initiative of President Corazon C. Aquino of the Philippines after the so-called peaceful “People Power Revolution” overthrew the 20-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. Initially an intergovernmental forum, the ICNRD process developed into a tripartite structure with participation of governments, parliaments and civil society. The sixth conference (ICNRD-6) that took place in Doha, Qatar, in 2006 reinforced the tripartite nature of the process and concluded with a declaration and Plan of Action which reaffirmed the fundamental principles and values of democracy.
Following up on the outcome of ICNRD-6, an advisory board set up by the chair of the process – Qatar – decided to promote an International Day of Democracy. Qatar took the lead in drafting the text of a United Nations General Assembly resolution and convened consultations with UN member states. At the suggestion of the IPU, 15 September (date of the Universal Declaration on Democracy) was chosen as the day when the international community would celebrate each year the International Day of Democracy. The resolution entitled “Support by the United Nations system of efforts of Governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies”, was adopted by consensus on 8 November 2007.
The celebration starts in 2008
The IPU has urged parliaments to celebrate the International Day of Democracy through some form of special activity, to be held on or as close to 15 September as possible depending on circumstances. The day will be an opportunity for parliaments to
Emphasize the importance of democracy, what it involves, the challenges it faces as well as the opportunities it offers, and the central responsibility that all parliaments have as the key institution of democracy;Examine and discuss how well parliament performs its democratic functions, possibly based on a self-assessment, and identify what steps it may take to strengthen its effectiveness.To mark the first International Day of Democracy on 15 September 2008, the IPU will hold a special event at the House of Parliaments in Geneva. National parliaments are invited to organize their democracy-related activities on that day to highlight the role of parliament as the cornerstone of democracy.