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Democracy ‘showing greater strain’, UN chief warns on Democracy Day


By Prudence Arobani

New York –  UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said that democracy was currently showing greater strain than at any time in decades.

Guterres in his remarks marking the official International Day of Democracy, said tackling economic and political inequality was at the root of strengthening democratic institutions.

“It means making our democracies more inclusive, by bringing the young and marginalised into the political system.

“It means making democracies more innovative and responsive to emerging challenges,” Guterres said.

The UN chief called for the invigoration of democratic systems and values and urged people to seek answers to the challenges facing democratic governments.

He stressed that working for a future that leaves no one behind requires everyone to consider three essential questions: “What impact will migration or climate change have on democracy in the next generation.

“How do we best harness the potential of new technologies while avoiding the dangers.

“How do we build better governance so that democracy delivers better lives and fully meets the public’s aspirations.”

In his 20s, Guterres was part of the Carnation Revolution of 1974, in which Portugal overthrew its authoritarian dictatorship, and he became the country’s Prime Minister from 1995 to 2002.

He recently said that democratic advances that democratic leaders secured in the late 20th century, are in jeopardy, as are values of the Enlightenment – also known as the Age of Reason.

He noted that the Age of Reason brought up the belief that humanity could be improved through rational changes.

“On this International Day of Democracy, let us commit to joining forces for the future of democracy,” the Secretary-General said.

The theme for the 2018 day is ‘Democracy under Strain: Solutions for a Changing World’.

The Day, which coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, also served as opportunity to highlight the values of freedom and respect for human rights as essential elements of democracy.



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