International Day of Democracy 2020: Seeking 'equal and inclusive world'; all you need to know

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International Day of Democracy allows everyone to review the state of democracy in the world. It is observed by all UN member states on 15 September.

According to a report by The Times of India, on 15 September, 1997, the "Universal Declaration on Democracy" was adopted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), an international organisation of national parliaments. The report adds that the declaration affirmed the principles of democracy, the elements and exercise of democratic government and the international scope of democracy.

In 1988, the process for International Conferences on New and Restored Democracies (ICNRD) commenced as the Philippines overthrew the 20-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon C. In 2006, the sixth conference of the ICNRD took place in Doha, Qatar, following which, an advisory board set up by the chair of the process (in this case Qatar), decided to promote an International Day of Democracy.

On 8 November, 2007, the resolution, titled, Support by the United Nations system of efforts of Governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies was adopted.

The link between democracy and human rights is captured in article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, "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."

According to the United Nations, the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has resulted in major social, legal and political challenges globally.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged governments to be crystal clear, responsive and accountable in COVID-19 response. He has also asked them to ensure that emergency measures are legal, proportionate and non-discriminatory.

Guterres has added, "The best response is one that responds proportionately to immediate threats while protecting human rights and the rule of law."

His policy brief also says states must respect and protect, among other rights, freedom of expression and of the press, freedom of information, freedom of association and of assembly.

In a message, the UN Secretary-General has also stated that well before COVID-19, frustration was rising and trust in public authorities was declining. He added that governments must do more to listen to people demanding change. He urged them to seize the moment to build a more equal and inclusive world, with respect for human rights.

Also See: 'Democracy is not the law of the majority but the protection of the minority': Top quotes for International Day of Democracy 2020

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