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Statement on the International Day of Democracy and the 22nd anniversary of the Inter-American Democratic Charter

Since its foundation, the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy (RedLad) has been committed with the promotion and defense of Democracy and Human Rights.

We have been adding different social actors to the collective commitment for the promotion, validity, and defense of Democracy, as part of our leadership role of the Citizen Forum of the Americas and Civil Society Pillar of the Community of Democracies.

RedLad’s actions are deeply rooted in the Inter-American Democratic Charter (IDC), adopted on September 11, 2001. We consider that the IDC remains a key tool for the defense of Democracy in all nations oh the hemisphere. Therefore, we firmly believe all countries in the Americas must reaffirm their commitment and be consistent with the IDC, in order to safeguard the essential rights and freedoms of all nations and citizens.

The above is of even greater importance today as we face weakened democratic institutions, including failed political parties that do not meet the needs of citizens, making it more and more common for citizens in the continent to demand new national, hemispheric, and global social pacts. Democratic institutions are fragmented by polarization, corruption, ideological authoritarianism, disinformation, and transnational organized crime, which have eroded our democracies, undermining their legitimacy and the rule of law throughout the region. Therefore, the civic space in the continent faces enormous challenges on a daily basis. Civil society, activists, and human rights defenders are being persecuted and threatened, and authoritarian governments are multiplying.

In this context, given the urgent need for the OAS to update its commitment and revitalize its actions to defend democracies, RedLad welcomes the new mandate that emerged from the 53rd Regular Session of the OAS General Assembly (AG/RES.), held last June in Washington, D.C.

When the AGOEA encouraged the establishment of an Open Participation Voluntary Group (GV) of member states to promote dialogue, horizontal cooperation, and the exchange of best practices among its members, it sent a clear message to the entire continent, renewing the governments’ commitment to democracy.

Redlad welcomes the possibility of establishing the new GV for the Support of the Follow-up to the Inter-American Democratic Charter. This is an important and necessary step that demonstrates that the commitment made in June was not rhetorical. However, we urge all full democracies of the OAS to join this Group, so that we can celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the adoption of the IADC with concrete actions towards its full implementation.

Only with the active participation of the most robust democracies in the continent, the initiative could prevent situations that endanger or obstruct democratic political institutional processes or the legitimate exercise of power by democratically elected governments that have been affected by undue interference from various actors, legal and illegal.

As it begins its work, RedLad urges the GV to promote innovation for a better application of the CDI, considering the recommendations of the 2011 report and its recommendations to “boost the capacity, mechanisms, and preventive actions of the Organization of American States,” but it requires a broad consultation with multiple stakeholders, including civil society, to update those recommendations with current trends in democratic fragility.

As always, considering our institutional agreement with the OAS and our deep commitment to democracy in the continent, RedLad is committed to supporting this new effort to promote collective action in response to possible threats or disruptions to democracy, bringing the voices of civil society, social actors, indigenous nations (and their struggle for the recognition of their own participatory democratic systems), Afro-descendant communities, and other relevant actors.

Only through an inclusive process, which fosters negotiation, constructive multisectoral dialogue, and timely action, will the GV be successful in its action; it must focus on both the most severe cases of democratic decline and the prevention of future setbacks. That is why we even urge the GV to have a permanent mechanism for consulting non-governmental stakeholders. RedLad can collaborate in designing the participation of civil society in said mechanism.

It is urgent that the GV act to revitalize the use of the Democratic Charter before the 54th regular session of the OAS General Assembly in June 2024 in Suriname, as well as the Tenth Summit of the Americas to be held in the Dominican Republic in 2025.