Marking International Day of Democracy, Secretary-General Warns That Civic Spaces Are Closing, Urges Meaningful Participation of Youth in Decision-Making

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Democracy, observed on 15 September:

Democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights are bedrocks of resilient, inclusive and peaceful societies.  They underwrite freedom, advance sustainable development and protect the dignity and rights of every person.  On the International Day of Democracy, we celebrate its promise to societies — and recognize the many threats it faces at this time of tension and turmoil.

The walls are closing in on civic spaces.  Mis- and disinformation are poisoning public discourse, polarizing communities and eroding trust in institutions.  This year’s theme — “Empowering the Next Generation” — focuses on the essential role of children and young people in safeguarding democracy today and in the future.

It is not enough to listen to children and young people.  We must support them with massive investments in education, skills-building and lifelong learning.  We must protect human rights and advance gender equality.  And we must expand the meaningful participation of young people in decision-making processes at every level.

On this important Day, let us join hands across generations and work as one to build a more just world for all.

For information media. Not an official record.