Ban calls democracy a universal value
"On this International Day of Democracy, I call on leaders to hear, respect and respond appropriately to the voices of the people, whether expressed directly or through elected representatives," he said.
In his message, Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said while democracies shared common features, there was no single model of democracy.
Activities carried out by the UN in support of efforts of governments to promote democracy were undertaken in accordance with the UN Charter, and only at the specific request of member states, he said.
In 2007, the UN General Assembly, in a resolution, encouraged governments to strengthen national programmes devoted to the promotion and consolidation of democracy, and also decided that September 15 of each year be observed as the International Day of Democracy.
The subject of this year's theme -- Strengthening Voices for Democracy -- aims to shine a spotlight on the importance of people's voices, both expressed directly and through their elected representatives, in today's political, economic, social, developmental, environmental and technological debates.
The ability of people to raise their voices and decide how they are governed lies at the heart of democracy, according to the statement.
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