The True Contest of Democracy versus Authoritarianism
Statement by Secretary General Thomas E. Garrett
January 25, 2022
In no region today is there a democracy presenting a military threat to any other country. Any “threat” that might exist is one of peaceful ideas and values, human rights, and the rule of law. Authoritarians recognize the danger to the control of their people from neighbors who have the right to vote, to protest, to challenge, and to question.
In this first month of 2022, attempts to establish “spheres of authoritarian influence,” if not outright dominance, endanger free people in Ukraine, Taiwan, and other democracies. The world’s community of democracies must actively oppose such behavior through a values-based multilateralism strongly allied with civil society to protect all human rights – civil, cultural, economic, political and social – as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments (Warsaw Declaration Principle 19).
In his opening remarks to the Summit for Democracy last December, U.S. President Biden said, “We stand at an inflection point in our history, in my view. The choices we make…are going to fundamentally determine the direction our world is going to take in the coming decades.”
In 2022, the Community of Democracies will seek to identify choices and solutions to ongoing and newly emerging threats to democracy. The Community of Democracies will continue to offer its assistance to governments worldwide and work with its Governing Council Member States, civil society, and other stakeholders to promote and protect shared human rights and democratic values.