Every year on 15 September, the International Day of Democracy is observed and celebrated across the world. The day focuses on the importance of participation or involvement of all members of society for the proper functioning of a democracy. In today’s world, democracy is one of the most popular forms of government where citizens have the right to decide on representatives and matters of legislation.
According to the United Nations (UN), the International Day of Democracy offers an opportunity to people across the world to review the state of democracy in their states. Furthermore, the objective of the day is to make the ideal of democracy “into a reality to be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere.”
The International Day of Democracy was recognised through a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in 2007, as per the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). For the unversed, the IPU is a renowned global organisation of national parliaments. The first International Day of Democracy was marked and celebrated on 15 September 2008 by 46 national parliaments.
But it was actually in the year 1988, that the concept to celebrate the International Day of Democracy was initiated. It was in that year that the International Conferences on the New and Restored Democracies (ICNRD) was started by President Corazon C. Aquino of the Philippines. Later in 2006, the ICNRD-6, which was conducted in Qatar, discussed and decided on re-establishment of the basic principles of democracy.
From then on, Qatar spearheaded the promotion of a resolution for the International Day of Democracy in the UN General Assembly.
Apart from focusing on the importance of participation in the democratic process, the International Day of Democracy is also observed to encourage governments to strengthen and consolidate their democratic systems. As democracy is essential for the protection of human rights, the day also highlights the vital role of parliaments to celebrate their capacity to hold meetings and deliver on human rights, peace and development.