World leaders committed to strengthening democracy, defending against transnational threats and repression

The US State Department

World leaders who gathered for an online democracy summit have committed to bolstering democracy and combatting authoritarian trends, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law and defending against transnational threats and repression.

The second edition of the online Summit for Democracy 2023 is being hosted by US President Joe Biden March 28-30.

“Democracy is necessary to ensure that every voice is heard, that the human rights of all are respected, protected, and fulfilled, online and offline, and that the rule of law is upheld,” world leaders said in a declaration endorsed by 70 governments and authorities.

The summit declaration was developed and negotiated by an intergovernmental coordination body that included the participation of 65 governments and five authorities from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America.

“… [dedicated to] work together to defend against transnational threats, including foreign information manipulation and interference, which includes disinformation that is discriminatory and targets women and girls and populations in marginalized or vulnerable situations,” the world leaders said. “We commit to defend against foreign interference, including in elections; transnational organized crimes; corruption; forced labor in global supply chains; terrorism; and transnational repression, including that of human rights defenders, whatever their origin.”

The declaration affirmed the endorsing of parties’ political commitments to protect human rights, media freedom and the rule of law; ensuring accountability for human rights violations and abuses; supporting people, including in Ukraine, who stand for freedom and reject aggression; and combatting all forms of discrimination and exclusion, including by strengthening women’s rights.

In the declaration, leaders also committed to preventing and combatting corruption; advancing technology that works for, and not against democracy; supporting free and fair elections; and addressing global challenges, including sustainable development, climate change, global health and food security.

Turkey and Hungary, both members of NATO, were not invited to the summit.

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby was asked during a call with reporters on Tuesday about the US administration’s decision not to invite Turkey and Hungary to the second edition of the online Summit for Democracy 2023, which is being hosted by Biden March 28-30.

“They’re NATO allies, and we’re going to continue to work together with them on lots of different issues of mutual concern,” Kirby said. “At the same time, we’re committed to supporting democratic institutions, human rights, rule of law [and] media freedom.”

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