Latest Date: Tuesday, 15th September 2020. Thirteen Anniversary.
Sponsor: United Nations
Democracy is a state where the people have rights to participate in the decision-making process of their nation, rather than being controlled by a government. It is only achievable when everyone has the right to vote or participate in election regardless of race, gender or other factors relevant to inclusion and equality.
Democracy is a fundamental element for a safe and peaceful society. When democracy is absent, life may face unimaginable challenges that are often incomprehensible. In a free society, people often take their freedoms for granted. In some places around the world, democracy is still a dream for the people there.
The International Day of Democracy is celebrated to review or reflect on the state of democracy in the world and uphold and promote democracy and its principles nationally or internationally.
It was first officially held on 15 September 2008 – the 20th anniversary of the First International Conference of the New or Restored Democracies.
The Universal Declaration on Democracy, which affirms the principles of democracy, the elements and exercise of democratic government, and the international scope of democracy, was originally adopted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in September 1997.
In 2006, the sixth conference of International Conferences on New and Restored Democracies (ICNRD-6), took place in Doha, Qatar, concluded with a declaration and Plan of Action which reaffirmed the fundamental principles and values of democracy.
On 8 November 2007, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution which observed 15 September of each year as the International Day of Democracy. The UN invited all member states and organizations to commemorate the day in an appropriate manner that contributes to raising public awareness.
In addition to advocate for democratic societies around the world, the UN also serves a variety of purposes including monitoring elections, working to strengthen democratic institutions and accountability, and assisting nations recovering from conflict to create their own constitution.
On the day, individuals and organizations may work together for reviewing democracy status and hold events to raise awareness of democracy, including conferences, discussions, social media campaigns, and distribution of leaflets, posters and flyers. Each year, the International Day of Democracy commemoration focuses on a specific theme identified and suggested by the United Nations.
The theme in 2020: COVID-19: A Spotlight on Democracy
This year, the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in major social, political and legal challenges globally. As states around the world adopt emergency measures to address the crisis, it is critical to uphold the rule of law, protect and respect basic principles of rights, legality and justice. The UN Secretary-General’s policy brief says that each state or nation must respect and protect, among other rights, freedom of expression and of the press, freedom of information, freedom of association and of assembly.
Annual themes in previous years:
The theme 2019 for Democracy Day was “participation”, which is a fundamental building block for peace, sustainable development, and human rights.
The theme for 2017 Democracy Day was “Democracy under Strain: Solutions for a Changing World”.
the theme for 2017 Democracy Day was “Democracy and Conflict Prevention”.