By Mandeep Tiwana, Chief of Programmes, CIVICUS
On 29 and 30 March, the US government, in partnership with Costa Rica, Netherlands, South Korea and Zambia, will co-host the second virtual Summit for Democracy. Several elected leaders and state representatives will come together to highlight achievements in advancing democratic principles.
This online global gathering intends to ‘demonstrate how democracies deliver for their citizens and are best equipped to address the world’s most pressing challenges’. Yet evidence gathered by civil society researchers indicates that all is not well with the state of democracy worldwide. Civic space, a key ingredient of democracy, is becoming increasingly contested.
Pundits have long argued that democracy is not just about majoritarian rule and nominally free elections. The essence of democracy lies in something deeper: the ability of people – especially the excluded – to organise, participate and communicate without hindrance to influence society, politics and economics.
Civic space is underpinned by the three fundamental freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression, with the state having responsibility to defend and safeguard these freedoms.
Read on Inter Press Service