Democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights are the foundations of resilient, peaceful and inclusive societies, says UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his message for today’s Republic Day. As he points out, they guarantee freedom, promote sustainable development and protect the dignity and rights of every person.

Referring further to International Democracy Day, he said “we celebrate the hope it brings to societies and recognize the many threats it faces at this time of tension and turmoil.”

In particular, he states that the space of civil society is limited and misinformation poisons public discourse, polarizes societies and erodes trust in institutions.

Regarding this year’s theme – “Empowering the Next Generation”, he points out that it focuses on the essential role of children and young people in protecting democracy today and in the future.

In this context, he declares: “It is not enough to listen to children and young people. We need to support them with massive investment in education, skills development and lifelong learning. We must protect human rights and promote gender equality. We also need to expand the meaningful participation of young people in decision-making processes at all levels.”

Finally, the UN Secretary General urges that on this important day, “let us join hands all generations, let us work together to build a fairer world for all”.

Dimitris Manolis