International Day of Democracy is an annual day that has been running for 10 years. The purpose of the day is to review the state of democracy in the world and promote democracy and its principles. 


UN always believes that human rights and the rule of law are always protected in democratic societies. UN always focuses on the goals of piece, human rights and development. Democracy provides a strong, active and vocal civil society. On 8 November, 2007, the UN General Assembly decided to make 15 September to observe the International Day of Democracy annually. On this day the assembly incites people and organisations from government and non-government, to commemorate the International Day of Democracy. In 2008, the International Day of Democracy was fist time celebrated. In fact UN General Assembly recognised 2008 year and marked it as the 20th anniversary of the first International Conference of New or Restored Democracies. It gave chance to the people to come forward, promote and consolidate democracy worldwide. 


On the day, individuals and organizations of all kinds work together for democracy. They hold events to raise awareness of democracy, including conferences, discussions and debates, as well as press conferences and publicity campaigns though distribution of leaflets, posters and flyers.

Democracy and human rights are closely linked, and UN covenants on these matters are to the fore on this observance day. Democracy is a state where the people have rights, especially to vote for and elect their government and regulation from among themselves, rather than being controlled by a government over whom they have no right of dissent, election or protest. Lack of democracy can lead to lack of rights or a voice, and this impacts on human rights as set out by the UN.

Democracy and Human Rights

Democracy is as much a process as a goal, and only with the full participation of and support by the international community, national governing bodies, civil society and individuals, can the ideal of democracy be made into a reality to be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere.

The values of freedom, respect for human rights and the principle of holding periodic and genuine elections by universal suffrage are essential elements of democracy.  In turn, democracy provides the natural environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights. These values are embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and further developed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which enshrines a host of political rights and civil liberties underpinning meaningful democracies.

The link between democracy and human rights is captured in article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:

“The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

The rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and subsequent human rights instruments covering group rights (e.g. indigenous people, minorities… ) are equally essential for democracy as they ensure an equitable distribution of wealth, and equality and equity in respect of access to civil and political rights.