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International Democracy Day: UN Chief urges inclusive political process

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for inclusion in the democratic process of all member states.

In a message to mark the 2019 International Day of Democracy, Guterres noted that democracy was about the people.

Antonio Guterres, Africa
Antonio Guterres

He urged every government to respect their citizens’ right to “meaningful participation” in the political process.

The International Day of Democracy is observed on Sept. 15 to promote and uphold the tenets of democracy.

It is the product of a UN General Assembly’s resolution in 2019, which urged member states and organisations to commemorate the day in a manner that contributes to raising public awareness.

“Democracy is built on inclusion, equal treatment and participation.

“It is a fundamental building block for peace, sustainable development and human rights,’’ the UN Chief said.

While lauding those who “strive tirelessly to make this happen’’, Guterres affirmed that these values and aspirations “cannot be seen as tokens or lip service’’ but must instead be “real in people’s lives’’.

“Yet the International Day of Democracy takes place at a time when trust is low and anxiety is high.

“People are frustrated by growing inequalities and unsettled by sweeping changes from globalisation and technology.’’

He blamed the situation on “conflicts going unresolved, climate emergency going unanswered, injustice going unaddressed and civic space shrinking’’.

“As we mark Democracy Day, I urge all Governments to respect the right to active, substantive and meaningful participation,’’ Guterres said.

Vanguard

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