The International Day of Democracy is observed around the world annually on 15th of September, since 2007. The day is observed around the world to promote and uphold democratic principles, to respect human rights, inclusiveness, accountability, and transparency.
It was established through a resolution passed by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2007, encouraging governments to strengthen and consolidate democracy.
Democracy in Context of Pandemic:
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged governments to be transparents, responsive and accountable in the COVID-19 response.
The UN listed out the concerns facing democracy in many countries in context of the pandemic:
- Measures to control the flow of information & crackdown on Freedom of Expression and Press Freedom in an existing background of shrinking civic space.
- Arrest, detention, prosecution or persecution of political opponents, journalists, doctors and healthcare workers, activists and others for spreading “Fake News”.
- Aggressive cyber-policing and increased online surveillance.
- Postponement of elections, which is a serious constitutional issue and leads to rising tensions.
Ways to counteract the threat to Democracy:
The UN’s Call to Action addresses and provides various ways to counteract the COVID-19 crisis, which may impair democracy and increase authoritarianism.
- Developing Media Literacy and Digital Safety.
- Fighting Misinformation, Disinformation, and hate speech.
- Training Journalists to report the pandemic in a safe, in-depth & fact-checking manner.
- Empowering Women against Domestic Violence, which has surged during the Pandemic.
- Helping to highlight the challenges of inequality, with focus on needs and rights of women, youth & minorities and other marginalized populations.
Recent Related News:
i.On January 22, 2020, According to the 12th edition of the ‘Democracy Index 2019: A year of democratic setbacks and popular protest’, released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), India has been ranked at the 51st spot.
ii.In accordance with the “Sustainable Development Report 2020- The Sustainable Development Goals and Covid- 19”, comprising SDG index 2020, India has been ranked at 117th position with a score of 61.92.
About United Nations General Assembly:
President – Tijjani Muhammad-Bande (Nigeria)
Headquarters – New York, United States of America (USA)