“There is a tendency to think that democracies perish as a result of violent actions, such as military coups or aggression. But in our time they can be undermined in other overt ways or wither away in enforced silence,” Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said, referring to undemocratic practices such as taking over the media landscape, silencing opposition voices and the suppression of critical media. media, demonizing civil society groups as foreign agents, as well as changing electoral laws through gerrymandering or restricting access to voting.
“This dangerous trend is a wake-up call for all of us who value democracy as the only way to secure equal political rights and choose our own representatives.
“There are of course thriving democracies today, with strong public institutions that operate in accordance with democratic principles and political parties committed to the democratic system and the rule of law.
“Following multiple crises over the past decade – a financial crisis, a pandemic and, most recently, a brutal war – democracy has been put to the test.
The Prime Minister stressed the need to educate people about democracy and the importance of political parties as guardians of democracy in mitigating extreme political polarization and in combating social exclusion and misinformation.
“Democracies must stand together to protect hard-won political rights and freedoms,” she said.
“Democracy – human rights – equality. In my mind, these three values are inseparable from each other. Democracy is about the equal rights of people to make decisions for their societies. Social justice and equality are key factors in guaranteeing these rights.
“Peace is not the absence of war, and war is not the absence of peace. To promote peace, we need a just society, where human rights and democracy are respected, where the rights of the greatest number are guaranteed to influence decision-making and social and economic progress. And international conventions on human rights, such as the European Convention on Human Rights.
“Women have long been at the forefront of civil and political rights movements around the world. Their full participation in political life – at national or local level – is fundamental to democracy. And when women’s equality is achieved in the political arena, it strengthens decision-making and more representative governance.
Finally, the Prime Minister referred to the decision taken by the Committee of Ministers which calls on the leaders of the 46 member states to “unite around our values” at a summit next year, only the 4th summit of the organization history.