Wednesday, 15 September 2010 03:00

SRSG, Ad Melkert, Message on the Occasion of the International Day of Democracy

15 September 2010-Today the world celebrates, for the third time, the International Day of Democracy. It is a moment of reflection on what democracy signifies to each and every one of us and the societies we live in.  While democracy may mean many things to different people and is shaped by different historical experiences, the essence of the democratic ideal remains based on three key features.  First, the recognition that where people and communities live together conflicts of interest occur and should be resolved in a peaceful manner on the basis of the rule of law.

 

Second, the right of each individual to choose their government and form of governance enabled by inalienable human rights such as freedom of expression and association and equal participation of women and men.  Thus the leaders of civil society, journalists and teachers, amongst others, serve as true ambassadors of democracy, deserving support and protection whenever their role is under threat. And, thirdly, the creation of equal opportunities through the eradication of poverty and access to education and basic health services and housing.

 

The elections of March 2010 represented an important stepping stone toward achieving these fundamental freedoms in Iraq.  Today, Iraq is setting its course in a concerted effort to come to terms with the inheritance of past and future challenges.  It is my view that this very moment offers all Iraqis a “chance of a lifetime” to shape their own and their nation’s destiny.  The many lengthy discussions about constitution, elections and government formation are worthwhile as long as their outcome will bring about social progress as well as stability and security, in reality demonstrating that democracy offers the best conditions to achieve this.  After all, everywhere in the world, people want to be recognized as human beings in their individual uniqueness and right.  In contrast, fear and dependence will prevent women and men from exploring their talents to the fullest – to the detriment of society as a whole.  Therefore, the United Nations stands by the Iraqi people to offer assistance in making democracy work for everyone, benefiting from international best practices and standards and guided by the choices of Iraqi leaders mandated by the overwhelming majority of Iraqis that cast their vote in seeking a better future.

Last modified on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 03:00

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