How democratic renewal begins


The pathway to a democratic renewal begins by supporting those on the front lines, says a leading democracy advocate. Whether an anonymous blogger, an imprisoned human rights defender, a next generation political leader, or a Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist, all under pressure from autocrats, notes Damon Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Endowment for Democracy.

Whether it is Ukraine, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Cuba, Russia, Sudan, Burma, Venezuela, or the Uyghurs of East Turkestan, who are all at the epicenter of the fight for freedom today, we need to draw on the strength, resilience, and determination of these courageous democrats to regain our footing and to rebuild democratic momentum with our efforts grounded in democratic solidarity and a commitment to act together in common cause, he writes in his review of 2021. RTWT

Is the failure of democratic leaders to effectively champion democratic values and rights a factor in enabling the rise of autocrats?

Autocratic leaders faced significant backlash in 2021, but democracy will only win the battle for hearts and minds if leaders address major challenges to show that democratic government delivers on its promised dividends, according to the Human Rights Watch World Report 2022, released this week.

“But the superficial appeal of the rise-of-autocracy thesis belies a more complex reality—and a bleaker future for autocrats,” it states. “As people see that unaccountable rulers inevitably prioritize their own interests over the public’s, the popular demand for rights-respecting democracy often remains strong. In country after country, large numbers of people have recently taken to the streets, even at the risk of being arrested or shot. There are few rallies for autocratic rule.”

Despite last year’s authoritarian gains, there is hope for a democratic resurgence in some places, the report states, noting that “alliances of opposition parties have formed” prior to forthcoming elections in Hungary and Turkey.



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