At FORUM-ASIA, we employ a range of strategies to effectively achieve our goals and create a lasting impact.

Through a diverse array of approaches, FORUM-ASIA is dedicated to achieving our objectives and leaving a lasting imprint on human rights advocacy.

Who we work with

Our interventions are meticulously crafted and ready to enact tangible change, addressing pressing issues and empowering communities.

Each statements, letters, and publications are meticulously tailored, poised to transform challenges into opportunities, and to empower communities towards sustainable progress.

Multimedia Stories
publications

With a firm commitment to turning ideas into action, FORUM-ASIA strives to create lasting change that leaves a positive legacy for future generations.

Explore our dedicated sub-sites to witness firsthand how FORUM-ASIA turns ideas into action, striving to create a legacy of lasting positive change for future generations.

Subscribe our monthly e-newsletter

The International Day of Democracy

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Today – 15 September – is the UN International Day of Democracy. The UN calls on all Governments and people to both celebrate and observe democracy. A day to review the state of democracy in the world as it is.

In light of this, Asia should be a cause for great alarm. That is why the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) calls on all Governments and leaders of the region to not just observe the day in words, but to take concrete actions to make good governance and democracy a reality across Asia.

The International Day of Democracy was established in November 2007 through UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/62/7. The resolution explicitly states that it is reaffirming ‘(..) the Charter of the United Nations, including the principles and purposes contained therein, and recognizing that human rights, the rule of law and democracy are interlinked and mutually reinforcing (..)’.

However, in Asia we see a worrisome trend of shrinking space for civil society. Restrictive laws and regulations are put in place across the region to complicate or even make impossible the work of human rights and democracy activists. The criminalisation of dissent and the curbing of the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association are further examples of the limitations that are put in place on people’s fundamental human rights.

The UN has recognized this too by choosing the topic of ‘Space for Civil Society’ for this year’s International Day of Democracy. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon’s, message for 2015 starts with saying that: ‘Civil society is the oxygen of democracy.’, and continues that ‘(..) A confident nation gives citizens a say and a role in the development of their country.’

FORUM-ASIA therefore reminds the political leaders of Asia that days, like the International Day of Democracy, are not intended to be mere occasions for a nice event. They serve as reminders of the universal values and principles that Member States have agreed to through the UN mechanisms, and more importantly, of the commitments that have been made to realize them.

In several countries in Asia there will be events observing and celebrating democracy today. Some of these are organised by Governments – like in India where there will be a specific ceremony held in Parliament – while others are initiated by civil society. Inspiring words will be said, and important statements will be made. However, if these celebrations are not followed by concrete actions and policies to promote real democracy, if the message of the UN to underline the important role of civil society in the realisation of democracy is not heard, then those words will sound hollow, and the International Day of Democracy will be just another day.