Countries around the world marked the International Day of Democracy in different ways. Click on the links below for more information.
The Chamber of Deputies issued a declaration for the International Day of Democracy, reaffirming its commitment to defending, through solidarity, transparency and tolerance, the values enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Democracy and the United Nations Charter.
Bahrain’s Parliamentary Group organized a series of events and other ways of marking the day. Below are some selected events.
- With the Human Rights Committee, the Group organized a joint panel discussion with a university student council to present the basic principles of democracy, respect for human rights and gender equality.
- In collaboration with the National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR), a lecture took place on 14 September on the International Day of Democracy at the Shura Council, highlighting national rights and duties guaranteed by democracy and how to defend national democracy.
- A promotional event in a mall or community centre was held, with prizes.
- A one and a half-hour TV programme, "Democratic Session" was broadcast, with members of the Shura and Representative Councils participating on the theme of the IDD, the democratic experience in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the achievements of democracy in Bahrain, political empowerment, the reform project, the legislative authority and its achievements, and obstacles to democratic experience and solutions.
- A one-hour radio programme was aired in collaboration with the Information Affairs Authority (IAA) to introduce the International Day of Democracy, during which members of the Shura Council discussed the achievements, accomplishments and democratic developments taking place in the Kingdom of Bahrain. They also looked at how the Shura Council had improved democracy in the Kingdom.
On 15 September, the two Second Deputy Speakers, Jocky Chantal Nkurunziza of the National Assembly and Anicet Niyongabo of the Senate issued a declaration on behalf of the Parliament of Burundi reaffirming the Parliament’s engagement in promoting and protecting democracy.
The Cameroonian Parliament held a roundtable on “Defending democracy: The 20th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Democracy on 15 September”.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau, and Minister of Democratic Institutions, Karina Gould, issued a statement on the International Day of Democracy, saying “Canada is proud to stand for the protection and pursuit of democratic frameworks that give all citizens the equal right to participate in and help shape the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of their societies.”
On 13 September, the Parliament held a seminar on the International Day of Democracy. Participants included MPs, politicians and academics. A booklet, The crisis of confidence in politics: Causes and solutions, published by the Academia Parlamentaria de la Cámara de Diputados, was presented during the event.
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
The CIS Interparliamentary Assembly held a conference on the International Day of Democracy for representatives of the national parliaments of the CIS Member countries, regional and municipal authorities, academia, civil society, media and students.
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
On the occasion of the International Day of Democracy, the Chairperson of the CPA, Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP, Speaker of the Parliament of Bangladesh, recorded a message to all 180 CPA branches across the Commonwealth. CPA Secretary-General, Akbar Khan, published a social media post supporting the IPU petition on #StrongerDemocracies, and the CPA used Twitter and Facebook to campaign on IDD (@CPA_Secretariat and Facebook.com/CPAHQ). IPU Secretary-General, Martin Chungong, also wrote an article in the latest issue of The Parliamentarian (2017: Issue Three).
The theme of the 2017 celebration of the International Day of Democracy was "Democracy and the Prevention of Conflict", with an opening address by Second Secretary of the National Assembly, Joseph Kignoumbi Kia Mboungou.
The International Day of Democracy focused on strengthening social and democratic responsibility of young people. On 8 September, the Department of Civic Participation, with the support of the Legislative Assembly, organized a discussion with a group of over 100 students aged between 14 and 15 years from socially vulnerable areas. The discussion was held in the Colegio Técnico Profesional de Puntarenas. Students interacted with MP Karla Prendas Matarrita as well as other local leaders involved in community work through civil society organizations.
The secretariat of the House of Representatives prepared a study on the role of the House in enhancing ,supporting and strengthening the democratic process.
On 27 September, the European Parliament held a day-long conference on Democracy in a Changing World. Some of the co-organizers of the conference presented an exhibition entitled “Voices of Democracy”, showcasing works of pro-democracy activists,
artists and organisations. The detailed programme of the conference and other events for IDD can be found here.
The Speaker, Jiko Luveni, addressed the Parliament on 15 September, saying that the International Day of Democracy worked to uphold key principals such as free and fair elections, human rights and the rule of law, gender equality, and freedom of expression as well as strong parliaments. He asked MPs to sign the IPU petition for stronger democracies. The Parliament also organized a display on democracy.
On 13 September, the Parliament of Finland and Demo Finland organized a seminar on the Role of Democracy in Conflict Prevention. The event, which took place at the Parliament, was opened by the First Deputy Speaker, Mauri Pekkarinen, with the keynote speech given by Keboitse Machangana from International IDEA (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance). A panel of MPs discussed preventing conflicts in a democratic society, focusing on issues such as the role of women and the youth, minorities in societies, tackling poverty and inequality, and the importance of education.
The Parliament organized an event on "Defending democracy: The 20th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Democracy", which was addressed by the Fifth Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Paul Abessole. There was also an exhibition entitled "The citizen, communication and political participation, the defence of democracy".
On 15 September, Lok Sabha Television broadcast a half-hour programme on “In Defence of Democracy: The 20th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Democracy”. It also broadcast two one-hour discussions on the theme by experts, in Hindi on the programme Lokmanch and in English on the programme Insight.
On 28 September, the Moroccan House of Councillors held a panel discussion on “Democracy in Morocco: Challenges and perspectives”. Several parliamentarians from both houses, as well as representatives of academic institutions and civil society organizations took part.
The Hluttaw held a ceremony for the International Day. Mahn Win Khaing Than, the Speaker, addressed the meeting, followed by presentations on students and civic society, among others. A film, “Naychi Mhar Shwe Yi Laung”, included in the Myanmar Democracy Film Festival, was shown.
A publication, entitled “Democracy 2030” was launched by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi. The publication was a result of the youths’ commemoration of the 2016 International Day of Democracy in the National Assembly Chamber.
The Peruvian Congress held several events from 11 to15 September with educational institutions including universities, public and private sector organizations, political parties with parliamentary representation, civil society and the general public.
On 13 September, the Senate adopted a resolution expressing its intention of joining nations and parliaments around the world in commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Democracy.
On 14 September, the Philippine Senate’s Office of International Relations and Protocol (OIRP) screened “Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon”, an award-winning film highlighting principles of democracy listed in the Universal Declaration on Democracy, and directed by the late Eddie Romero. The OIRP also spearheaded an information awareness campaign from 11 to 13 September.
Republic of Moldova
From 11-16 September, the Parliament of Moldova held an Open Parliament Week as part of the Parliament’s efforts to align with international standards in legislative transparency and civic participation.
On 15 September, the Parliament, in partnership with the Children’s Ombudsman and the Council for Preventing and Eliminating Discrimination and Ensuring Equality, hosted two workshops for children and young people: “Democracy from childhood” and ”Equality—the essence of democracy”. Participants met with MPs and were given a tour of the Parliament building. Exhibitions, training sessions, workshops and other events also took place on International Democracy Day.
On 7 September in Moscow, the Deputy Chairperson of the Council of the Federation, Ilyas Umakhanov, held a public press conference on the International Day of Democracy and the draft resolution “Sharing our diversity: The 20th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Democracy” that was debated at the 137th IPU Assembly in St. Petersburg in October.
On 15 September, in Saint Petersburg, an international conference on the International Day of Democracy was organized by the Council of the Federation and the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The delegation from the Council was headed by the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and IPU Vice-President, Konstantin Kosachev.
The National Assembly organized a working forum on the International Day of Democracy on 15 September 2017 on “Democracy and active citizens on the way to open parliaments”. Keynote speakers were Svetislava Bulajic, Secretary General of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Jovicevic, Secretary General of the Parliament of Montenegro, and Kenan Vehabovic, Secretary of the Joint Service of the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Participants, including field experts and representatives of NGOs, media and international organizations, discussed the openness of parliaments, challenges and ways to improve transparency, and civic participation in decision-making processes. The IPU’s video on the Universal Declaration on Democracy was posted on the National Assembly’s official website. The Universal Declaration on Democracy and the posters for the IPU campaign for stronger democracies were translated into Serbian and were distributed to participants.
On 30 November, the Swedish IPU delegation celebrated the Swedish Parliament’s 125-year membership of the IPU. Several activities were organized: a seminar in the Parliament focusing on counter-terrorism, gender equality and collaboration between the UN and national parliaments, in which IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong participated; a photo exhibition about the IPU; and the launching of a book about the IPU. The Parliament will also celebrate 100 years of democracy in Sweden from 2018 to 2022.
The two chambers of the Swiss Parliament jointly published a press release on 15 September to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the International Day of Democracy. The press release quoted the Swiss Federal Constitution, which called on Swiss citizens not only to strengthen democracy in the country, but also to promote respect for democracy in Switzerland’s relations with other states.
The Legislative Assembly of Thailand held a Democracy Week at the Parliament from 11 to 19 September. There was an exhibition on “Borderless Democracy: 10 Years of International Democracy Day, 15 Years of Thai Parliamentary Literary Award and 20 Years of Universal Declaration of Democracy”. On 19 September, the President of the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand, Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, presided over the 2017 Thai Parliamentary Literary Award Granting Ceremony. The award is given to writers for short stories and poems promoting civic knowledge and engagement in democracy.
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
On 15 September, the Assembly held a special event on “In defense of democracy: The 20th anniversary of IPU’s Universal Declaration on Democracy”. The Speaker of the Assembly, Talat Xhaferi, the Speaker of the first pluralistic Assembly, Stojan Andov, and the Prime Minister Zoran Zaev addressed the event, which brought together MPs, former Speakers, Vice-Speakers and Secretaries General of the Assembly, as well as NGOs, diplomats and citizens. Participants were encouraged to sign the IPU petition for stronger democracies, which was posted on the Assembly's website as well as on its Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The theme for Uganda's celebration of the International Day of Democracy was Democracy and Conflict Prevention, which highlighted the need to strengthen democratic institutions to promote peace and stability.
Members of the British Group of the IPU marked the International Day of Democracy by including a special message in their email signatures for the week of 11 September. The Group also promoted the IPU’s campaign for #StrongerDemocracies by featuring it on the BGIPU website and raised awareness of the campaign with UK MPs and Peers. Awareness-raising activities included an active Twitter feed, engaging members in the lead-up to 15 September and featuring the BGIPU Chair and Executive Committee members and the Speaker of the House of Commons.
On 13 September, the Parliament of Uruguay held a panel discussion on the role of education in democracies. Participants included MPs across all political parties.