International Day of Democracy

Department of State Official Blog

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 15, 2016

On the International Day of Democracy, we remember that freedom and democracy remain the greatest safeguards to peace, security, and prosperity worldwide.

More and more people around the world today are calling for representative governance that is rooted in the will of the people. A generation of young people is using technology in new ways to speak out against repression and to hold their governments accountable.

Women, persons with disabilities, LGBTI persons, and marginalized populations are increasingly exercising their rights to participate in the political process, and civil society continues to be a catalyst for social, political, and economic change.

At the same time, some transitioning democracies have experienced setbacks in their struggle for a new political direction. Repressive regimes, threatened by calls for open and accountable governance, suppress freedom of expression, silence opposition voices, squander public resources, and resort to arbitrary tactics and sanctioned brutality.

This does not mean that democracy is in retreat. Rather, these events are a reaction to empowered individuals from every nation demanding transparency and civic inclusion. Our message continues to be that when governments violate the basic rights of their people and ignore calls for accountability, what follows is not control and order but instability and violence.

The violence and oppression that threatens one nation, threatens every nation.

The United States will continue to support the development of democratic, rights-based institutions, through our leadership in the Community of Democracies, our efforts in the Open Government Partnership, and our continued diplomatic engagement.

As we celebrate the International Day of Democracy, we reaffirm our commitment to safeguarding human rights and civil liberties and promoting effective and accountable institutions around the world.