On this International Day of Democracy, we reflect on our nation’s unwavering commitment to the unalienable rights that create the foundation of our democracy.  In the United States, those rights are defined by respect for individual liberty and human dignity.  A vibrant, diverse, and independent civil society is the cornerstone of ensuring these fundamental freedoms.  Public space for exercise of unalienable rights is critical to the contributions civil society makes to help ensure strong democratic institutions, protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, combat corruption, and foster transparency.

While the United States commends governments that have undertaken reforms to allow civil society to thrive, we remain deeply concerned by the global trend of shrinking civic space.  Concerning trends include a proliferation of laws and policies that impose undue restrictions on the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly, expression, and religion or belief.

The American people and many of our allies have enjoyed the fruits of democracy.  We thrive because we use our fundamental freedoms to create opportunities for economic, cultural, educational, and societal progress.  Nations are more secure, peaceful, and prosperous when civil society engages freely and participates in democratic processes without intimidation.  The United States will continue to be a leader in protecting civic space to bolster the foundations of democracy.

 

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