International Day of Democracy 2020: Global leaders stress on 'need to listen', promote equality before law amid pandemic

With nations adopting emergency measures to address COVID-19 crisis, the UN calls on nations to uphold the rule of law, protect and respect international standards and basic principles of legality and the right to access justice, remedies and due process

FP Trending September 15, 2020 18:08:27 IST
International Day of Democracy 2020: Global leaders stress on 'need to listen', promote equality before law amid pandemic

A ragpicker stands in front of a mural on COVID-19 coronavirus awareness, painted on a wall along the roadside in New Delhi on July 23, 2020. - India last week became the third country after the United States and Brazil to hit one million cases but many experts say that with testing rates low, the true number could be much higher. (Photo by SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP)

On International Day of Democracy, leaders from across the world stressed on the need to strengthen the foundations of democracy, how every voice matters and how it allows people to have a say in decisions affecting their lives.

Reiterating his message urging governments to listen to people, UN Secretary General António Guterres on Tuesday said that before COVID-19 pandemic the trust in governments was falling and that "governments must to do more to listen to people demanding change" and "seize this moment to build a more equal and inclusive world, with full respect for human rights".

In a message released on International Democracy Day, the United Nations said, the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in major social, political and legal challenges globally. Countries around the world have adopted emergency measures to address the crisis, and therefore, it is more important than ever to uphold the rule of law, protect and respect international standards and basic principles of legality and the right to access justice, remedies and due process.

Some of the concerns highlighted by the United Nations in terms of COVID-19 include, measures to control the flow of information and crackdown on freedom of expression and press freedom against an existing background of shrinking space; arrest, detention, prosecution or persecution of political opponents, journalists, doctors and others for allegedly spreading "fake news"; aggressive cyber-policing and increased online surveillance as well as postponement of elections leading to a possibility of tensions.

The United Nations on its Twitter said that democracy contributes to peaceful and stable societies and allows people to have a say in decisions affecting their lives. UNESCO, on its part, highlighted than every voice and opinions matter.

In a message on Twitter, Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu Tuesday appealed to everybody to strengthen the foundations of Indian democracy and make it more vibrant.

Chief Ministers of Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh, stressed on upholding the democratic values amid the COVID-19 pandemic and asked people to be well aware of their duties towards the country, government and citizens while exercising their democratic rights respectively.

"As the world faces this unprecedented #COVID19 challenge, upholding democratic values like participatory decision making and empowering people at grassroots are essential. On #InternationalDayOfDemocracy, reaffirm pledge to keep people at core of our strategy to fight the pandemic," tweeted Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, "Democracy is the best system of governance, accountability, checks and balance.” Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said that democracy is the fundamental building block for sustainable development and human rights and people should reaffirm to uphold democratic values and traditions. US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo too highlighted that democracy has always been and will remain the greatest aspiration of people around the world who long to be free.

Odisha leader Suparno Satpathy tweeted:

Chief Minister of Tripura, on his part, said people should not forget their responsibilities and appreciate the democratic rights for the betterment of the society.

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