May 12, 2021 – The founding organisers of the Frontline Voices in the Summit for Democracy platform welcome the intention of President Joe Biden to engage in a global discussion about democracy and explore ways in which we can collectively strengthen democratic practice, life and societies.
We applaud the commitment to engage those of us who are building, strengthening, and promoting democratic values in our communities, our nations and our regions.
Voices at the Table
In support of a global Summit on Democracy, our organisations call on the government of the United States to ensure genuine frontline activists are heard and that our experiences and aspirations are substantively reflected in this dialogue. As representatives of national and regional democracy and human rights organisations, we believe that this once-in-a-generation event requires an innovative approach and an equal partnership between government convenors and national non-governmental organisations.
We invite the world’s community of democratic practitioners to join our call, and our effort in ensuring the outcomes of a global dialogue have an enduring impact on the protection and expansion of democratic rights and freedoms.
In the days ahead, our platform “Frontline Voices in the Summit for Democracy” will engage our global networks of activists to discuss priorities and strategies to safeguard the genuine and meaningful participation of national organisations as partners in the proposed Summit for Democracy. We will, after all, be the organisations left to monitor and hold accountable country commitments made in any summit.
We advocate that the starting point of any discussion on democracy be focused on the values of fundamental human rights. This discussion must confront the barriers and assaults on democratic and human rights. Political stability is born on the foundations of rights-based societies that should not be sacrificed for political expediency.
During the 2020 Presidential Campaign in the United States of America, candidate Joe Biden laid out a plan entitled “THE POWER OF AMERICA’S EXAMPLE: THE BIDEN PLAN FOR LEADING THE DEMOCRATIC WORLD TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF THE 21ST CENTURY”
“Having taken these essential steps to reinforce the democratic foundation of our country and inspire action in others, President Biden will organize and host a global Summit for Democracy to renew the spirit and shared purpose of the nations of the Free World. During his first year in office, President Biden will bring together the world’s democracies to strengthen our democratic institutions, honestly confront the challenge of nations that are backsliding, and forge a common agenda to address threats to our common values.
- The Summit will prioritize results by galvanizing significant new country commitments in three areas: (1) fighting corruption; (2) defending against authoritarianism, including election security; (3) advancing human rights in their own nations and abroad.
- The Summit will include civil society organizations from around the world that stand on the frontlines in defense of our democracies.
- The Summit will also issue a Call to Action for the private sector, including technology corporations and social media giants, to make their own commitments, recognizing their responsibilities and their overwhelming interest in preserving open, democratic societies and protecting free speech. For example, technology companies—which benefit from the fruits of democracy—should make concrete pledges for how they can ensure their algorithms and platforms are not empowering the surveillance state, facilitating repression in China and elsewhere, spreading hate, spurring people to violence, and remaining susceptible to misuse.”
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Frontline Voices Platform
On May 4th, 2021 fourteen organisations working on human and community rights, democratic development and elections, and anticorruption joined together to ensure frontline voices are heard in the proposed Summit on Democracy. The participants in this initial discussion are calling on other human rights and democracy focused organisations to join the platform and engage in these critical discussions and advocacy. This unique opportunity must have every opportunity to succeed, and its proponents must represent genuine grass roots activism.
Adawaa Rights – Algeria
Al Hayat Center – Jordan
December 24th Movement – Libya
Kosova Democratic Institute – Kosovo
Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections – Lebanon
Libyan Organization for Development – Libya
Madaniyat – Lebanon