Recuperating the fullness of democracy hand in hand with human rightso la plenitud de la democracia de la mano de los derechos humanos: International Day of Democracy

Fecha: (11/1/2021 9:54:21 AM)

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San José, Costa Rica. Since it was founded in 1980, the IIHR has strongly accompanied the democraticizing processes in Latin America, based on the principles that underpin its work: “representative democracy and the rule of law, ideological pluralism, respect for human rights and basic freedoms and their international protection, academic freedom and international solidarity and cooperation, without discrimination of any type” (Art. 4, Statute).

The commemoration of the International Day of Democracy has a special meaning in a year in which five Central American countries, together with Panama and Peru, celebrate the bicentennial of their independence from Spain at a time when there is no lack of political regression and tendencies that seek to ignore the foundations of democratic regimes, such as the division of powers and the respect for the rule of law, which is a concern in the region. In addition, the crisis caused by the pandemic continues to harshly punish the Latin American people; there are many sanitary, social, economic and political challenges that must be faced in a context characterized by the scarcity of vaccinations in some countries and the less than transparent management of the emergency by the institutions in others. The expansion of COVID-19 has also brought with it measures that restrict rights that, together with the excessive repression of social protest, recalls the facility by which authoritarianism gains ground when democracies do not maintain respect for the human rights of the individual as its principal obligation.

In view of this complex reality, in 2019 the Institute initiated an interdisciplinary investigation and analysis on the state of democracy in the region, led by its Center for Electoral Promotion and Assistance, a specialized program created in 1983 to provide technical and electoral assistance to electoral bodies, to promote political rights and to support the consolidation and strengthening of democratic institutionality in the region. The results of this outstanding group of specialists can be found in the book titled  La democracia latinoamericana en una encrucijada. Crisis y desafíos (Latin American democracy at a crossroads. Crisis and challenges), which will appear shortly and which will show the harm, great and small, that democratic institutionality is suffering in the hemisphere, as well as the pending debts, over the decades, concerning the rights of persons and overcoming inequality.  

It is hoped that this new publication will not only enrich the necessary debate on the condition of democracy, but will also contribute to visualizing a renewed democracy with a commitment to respect human rights.

The IIHR joins in the commemoration of the International Day of Democracy, celebrated on September 15 each year as a result of the UN General Assembly’s Resolution 62/6 of November 8, 2007 and endorses its mandate of the promotion and teaching of the values, principles and norms of human rights, the keystone of democracy in our days, whose respect and guarantee are essential conditions for the existence of true democracy and authentic rule of law.