Guterres calls to empower youth to safeguard democracy


Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau

UNITED NATIONS, 16th Sept. UN Secretary General António Guterres on Friday commemorated the International Day of Democracy called societies to engage young and empower them with the skills and education they need to safeguard democratic principles.

Mr. Guterres affirmed that democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights underpin freedom, promote sustainable development and safeguard the dignity of every person.

He said “On the International Day of Democracy, we celebrate its promise to societies and recognize the many threats it faces at this time of tension and turmoil”.

Mr. Guterres stressed to the alarming trend of shrinking civic space. Misinformation and disinformation are major concerns, he warned, noted they “poison public discourse, polarize communities, and erode trust in institutions.”

The theme of this year’s International Day, “Empowering the Next Generation,” spotlighted the pivotal role of children and young people in safeguarding and advancing democracy, both today and in the future.

He stressed that merely listening to young voices is insufficient.

“We must support them with massive investments in education, skills-building, and lifelong learning, and we must protect human rights and advance gender equality,” he said.

Mr. Guterres called for unity across generations and urged collective efforts to build a more just and equitable world for all.

The International Day of Democracy is an opportunity to review the state of democracy globally.

It was established in 2007 by the UN General Assembly reaffirmed that democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life.

UN human rights experts highlighted the link between the digital world and fundamental democratic rights, urging States to ensure that they are protected in cyberspace.

Special rapporteurs on freedom of expression, the situation of rights defenders, and freedom of peaceful assembly cautioned against the misuse of evolving technology to curtail human rights, shrink civic space, and target rights activists.

“Digital space is not neutral space. At the levels of its physical architecture, regulation and use, different groups exert their interests over it,” David Kaye, Michel Forst and Clément Voule said.

“The principles of international human rights law, however, should be at the centre of its development,” they emphasized.

They reaffirmed that human rights should be at the forefront of considerations regarding the present and future of technology and the internet.

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