NEW YORK, Sept. 26, 2012 /CNW/ - Louise Arbour of International Crisis
Group spoke in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly
(UNGA) today, at an event co-convened by the governments of Australia
and Chile to promote Deepening Democracy, the new report of the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and
Security. The report calls for urgent national and international action
to protect the integrity of elections.
Mme Arbour noted: "The challenges in ensuring elections with integrity are not unique to
emerging or transitioning democracies - even Western countries with a long history of democratic institutions
can display serious shortcomings. As elections spread across the world
we must do everything it takes to have real, meaningful elections - what we call elections with integrity."
The Hon Richard Marles MP, Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for
Foreign Affairs, who co-hosted the UNGA event, congratulated the
Commission on its work and commended the report's findings. He said: "We all share a responsibility to keep working at democracy and to
promote elections with integrity. Democracy is not irreversible. It can
be eroded by inequality, by conflict, by corruption and by poor
governance. Australia is committed to achieving a peaceful, secure, sustainable and democratic
global community and we underscore the importance of political and
electoral integrity in doing so."
Deepening Democracy: a Strategy for Improving the Integrity of Elections
Worldwide emphasises: elections conducted with integrity promote democratic
values and human rights, improve governance, fight corruption, empower
minority groups and deliver services to the poor.
If not conducted fairly, elections can undermine democracy, worsen
divisions, trigger conflicts and fail to deliver improvements in the
lives of people.
The Commission of former world leaders, Nobel Prize winners and leading
academics cautions: "The rise of uncontrolled political finance
threatens to hollow out democracy everywhere and rob democracy of its
Noting repeated failures within the international community to support
elections with integrity, the report provides a comprehensive series of
recommendations to strengthen electoral processes and norms.
Kofi Annan, Chair of the Commission, says: "Elections are the indispensable root of democracy. When elections have
been free and fair, they can be a powerful catalyst for better
governance, greater security and human development. But in the absence
of credible elections, citizens have no recourse to peaceful political
change. The risk of conflict increases, while corruption, intimidation,
and fraud go unchecked, rotting the entire political system slowly from
Former Mexican President Dr Ernesto Zedillo comments: "As much as we see vibrant democracies in the world, we also see
vulnerabilities in electoral systems - some countries that are trying to be democratic are suffering great
failures in electoral processes. Democracy is becoming a universal
value but you cannot have a strong democracy if you do not have the
rules, institutions, practices and culture to conduct electoral
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Deepening Democracy available at: http://www.global-commission.org
A joint initiative of International IDEA and the Kofi Annan Foundation.
SOURCE: The Secretariat of the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security
For further information:
Zachary Alpern: +46767618491, Alberto Guevara Castro (Spanish): +46727175992