International Day of Democracy 2023: Date, history, significance, celebration
International Day of Democracy 2023: Here's all you need to know about the date, history, significance and celebration of International Democracy Day
Democracy, from the two Greek words - ‘demos’ that means a citizen of a city-state and ‘kratos’ that means 'power' or 'rule' form of government, is a core value of the United Nations where respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the principle of holding periodic and genuine elections by universal suffrage are some of the essential elements of democracy. It refers to a system where the citizens of a country have the state power to elect their leaders and exercise their right to participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives so, to promote and uphold these principles of democracy worldwide, the United Nations General Assembly established International Day of Democracy in 2007.
September 15 is celebrated as International Day of Democracy after being established in 2007 through a resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The International Day of Democracy owes its existence to the Universal Declaration on Democracy, which was adopted on September 15, 1997 by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which is an international organisation of national parliaments. In the following years, Qatar led efforts to promote an International Day of Democracy. Finally, on November 8, 2007, the day was established as the UNGA adopted by consensus the resolution titled “Support by United Nations system of efforts of governments to promote and consolidate a new or restored democracies.”
The IPU suggested that the occasion be celebrated on September 15 to commemorate the adoption of Universal Declaration on Democracy 10 years prior. The first such celebration took place in 2008.
In the words of the United Nations, “International Day of Democracy 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 the international community, can the ideal of democracy be made into a reality.”
Every year, events take place under an individual theme but the overarching goal remains the same and that is to promote and uphold democracy as a fundamental human right and a cornerstone of good governance and peace. The United Nations and various organisations worldwide organise events, conferences and discussions to mark this day and promote democratic values.