By Pragya Lamsal
On 15 September, we celebrate International Day of Democracy and we are marking #DemocracyWeek2020. International Democracy Day provides us an opportunity to review the state of democracy not only in our country, but also around the world as a whole.
This year, the relevance of talking about democracy and democratic values has become very important because the COVID-19 pandemic has not only threatened the lives and the livelihoods of people but has also provided an excuse to governments and authoritarian rulers to curtail civil liberties and political rights.
In this context, A Call to Defend Democracy was launched on 25 June 2020 by political, civil leaders, Nobel Laureates and pro-democracy institutions with the aim to defend democracy. I am really proud to join a movement called “A Call to Defend Democracy” during the global pandemic. The question is: why is it important to defend democracy and why should we take part in the global movement to defend democracy?
There are some reasons to take part in the global movement to defend democracy.
First, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I firmly believe that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. It is not possible to achieve this without a functioning democracy.
We have seen that some governments have used COVID 19 as a tool of repression to curb political rights and civil liberties. This should not be the case. We should not allow the governments to use the pandemic as an excuse to curb the fundamental rights of individuals.
Also, pandemic response efforts should be transparent and participatory because governments are using large amounts of emergency funding to respond to the crisis. Even response efforts should value the principle of equality and social justice. I mean access to medical care should be equal for all regardless of class, power, geography, gender, race, and any other aspects.
This global call to defend democracy matters because I am sure that we can create a vibrant and decent movement for democracy, together.
It is important because the only alternative of democracy is consolidated democracy where everyone can enjoy freedom and rights.
In the end, as stated in the call, we should be cautious that “democracy is under threat, and people who care about it must summon the will, the discipline, and the solidarity to defend it. At stake are the freedom, health, and dignity of people everywhere.”