Democracy for conflict prevention | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 19, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 19, 2017

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Democracy for conflict prevention

Democracy provides the natural environment for the protection and effective realisation of human rights. 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. These values are embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and further developed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which enshrines a host of political rights and civil liberties underpinning meaningful democracies.

A more integrated approach to foster resilient societies calls for effective and inclusive democratic governance with respect for human rights and the rule of law. Strong leadership to support democracy, strengthen civil society, empower women and uphold the rule of law are conditions that preserve stability and peace in such resilient societies.

The link between democracy and human rights is captured in article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that 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 rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and subsequent human rights instruments covering group rights (e.g. indigenous peoples, minorities, people with disabilities) are equally essential for democracy as they ensure an equitable distribution of wealth, equality and equity in respect of access to civil and political rights. Recognising the indivisible links between peaceful societies and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development addresses democracy in Sustainable Development Goal 16. 

The United Nations' (UN) International Day of Democracy is annually held on September 15 to raise public awareness about democracy. Various activities and events are held around the world to promote democracy on this date. This day each year basically 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. This year's theme of democracy and conflict prevention focused on the critical need to strengthen democratic institutions to promote peace and stability.

 

From Law Desk. (Source: UN.ORG).

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