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A United Nations Special Rapporteur for Democracy

Ahead of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), EPD joined more than 80 civil society organisations, networks, think tanks and institutions, as well as over 180 individuals from across the world in the call for a United Nations Special rapporteur on Democracy.  

In an era when democracy is globally challenged, the proposal for a special United Nations Rapporteur needs urgent consideration

Democracy is not a luxury. Democratic principles and practices provide the best conditions for peace and prosperity. Such conditions cannot exist nor last without the protection and promotion of civic space. Ethnic and religious minorities, as well as underrepresented groups such as women and youth, are heavily dependent on effective democratic institutions to be able to participate, represent their interests and fight for their rights. Putting democracy back among the priorities of the UN agenda would be a first step to ensure such groups have their say.

In an era where democracy is heavily threatened and authoritarianism is on the rise, the United Nations need to step up its efforts to foster human rights and democratic principles. The establishment of a United Nations special rapporteur would support policy-makers in the promotion of integrity in political speech, transparency in government and the protection of fundamental human rights

Boosting global commitments to democratic principles

The new rapporteur position would be created by the Human Rights Council in Geneva, with the mandate of investigating the state of democracy around the world. The signatories demand that the mandate be based on United Nations resolutions aiming at identifying and supporting democratic principles, including the fundamental principle that “public authority must derive from the will of people”, contained in Article 21 of the UDHR. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur on Democracy’s work would contribute to the realisation of democracy, including support for constitutional and institutional arrangements such as checks and balances; effectiveness of parliaments; free, fair and competitive elections and election environments; political participation including of minorities and women; direct and deliberative mechanisms; as well as civic space and freedoms

Like-minded organizations, policy-makers and individuals are invited to sign on.

This article was written by Adriana D’Auria, Communications Officer at the European Partnership for Democracy.

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