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Item 2 : Joint statement on Democracy

STATEMENT

Human Rights Council 47th Session.
Item 2 - ID on HC annual report - Joint statement on Democracy


Statement delivered by Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith, Permanent Representative of Norway on behalf of the following countries :

Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde (Cabo Verde), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Honduras, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italia, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Palau, Panama, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Poland, Romania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America and Vanuatu.

 

                                                                                         Check against delivery

21 June 2021

 

Draft joint statement on Democracy - 47th session of the Human Rights Council

 

Thank you, Madam President,

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights articulates a solemn truth:

That all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and that the will of the people shall be the sole basis of the authority of government and the legitimacy of sovereign States – and, by extension, the legitimacy of the United Nations as a whole.

While the UN does not explicitly advocate for a specific model of government, it is clear from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the human rights treaties, and other core UN documents[1] that only democratic forms of governance, based upon the will of the people, are capable of providing an environment conducive to long-term peace and security, sustainable development ‘leaving no one behind,’ and – of course – the full enjoyment of human rights.

Notwithstanding these truths, today, many of the fundamental pillars of democracy are being openly challenged, including by States that are party to the aforementioned treaties.

In view of these challenges, we believe it is time for the world’s democracies to reaffirm their common conviction that the authority and legitimacy of government stems from the will of the people, as expressed through periodic and genuine elections, based on universal and equal suffrage, and secret ballot; that all citizens, without discrimination, have the right to take part in the government of their country, by standing for election or by freely voting for their chosen representatives; that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and to freedom of peaceful assembly and association; that everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law; and that everyone is entitled to all human rights – civil and political, economic, social and cultural – without distinction of any kind.

We further believe the United Nations, including this Council and its mechanisms, has a critical role to play in promoting, defending and reinvigorating democracy, including by helping to address emerging challenges and opportunities facing democratic societies in the 21st century, so they are truly able to deliver on the hopes and aspirations of the people the UN ultimately serves.

 

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As read:

 

Thank you, Madam President,

It is clear from the UDHR, the human rights treaties, and other core UN documents that only democratic forms of governance are capable of providing an environment conducive to long-term peace and security, sustainable development, and the full enjoyment of human rights.

Yet today, many of the fundamental pillars of democracy are being openly challenged, including by States that are party to the aforementioned treaties.

In view of these challenges, we believe it is time for the world’s democracies to reaffirm their common conviction that the authority and legitimacy of government stems from the will of the people, as expressed through periodic and genuine elections, based on universal and equal suffrage and secret ballot; that all citizens have the right to take part in the government of their country, by standing for election or by freely voting for their chosen representatives; that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion, expression, peaceful assembly, and association; that everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal; and that everyone is entitled to all human rights – civil and political, economic, social and cultural – without distinction.

The United Nations, including this Council and its mechanisms, has a critical role to play in promoting, defending and reinvigorating democracy, to help deliver on the hopes and aspirations of the people the UN ultimately serves.

 

[1] For example, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development states that ‘democracy, good governance and the rule of law, as well as an enabling environment at national and international levels, are essential for sustainable development.’  See also the UDHR (article 22), ICCPR (article 25), CERD (article 5), etc.