11.09.2018 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

UNESCO message for the International Day of Democracy

Message from Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of International Day of Democracy, 15 September 2018

Today, we celebrate the International Day of Democracy. Democracy is an ideal which recognizes that every human being has equal dignity and the same fundamental freedoms: the freedoms of thought, belief, expression and movement.

These universal values are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose 70th anniversary we are celebrating this year, and permeate the UNESCO Constitution. If culture, education, science, communication and information, which UNESCO aims to promote throughout the world, are not upheld by universal values, or if they exclude part of humankind and do not contribute to greater peace and justice, then they lose their essence.

Democracy is not only a moral ideal, but also a political and legal principle. Democracy is organized, constructed and deepened through the granting of political rights to participate in the joint development of laws and institutions, through free elections by universal suffrage, through a system of checks and balances inherent in a State governed by the rule of law, through a free and independent press, and through active citizens and an open and dynamic civil society. UNESCO is actively involved in the promotion of citizenship and works closely with many civil society partners.

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