Seoul report: How to respond to the global ‘rollback’ of democracy

On his return from the World Movement for Democracy’s Eighth Global Assembly in Seoul, Anthony Smith has written an article published on devex.com reflecting on the shrinking space for civil society and the ramifications of a new anti-democratic conceptual framework.

“This framework interprets good governance as effective management, not democratic accountability,” he writes.

“It suggests open economies and a strong private sector do not have to be linked to open societies. It raises ‘traditional values’ to the same status as human rights. It fosters coalitions of authoritarian countries that use persistent blocking tactics to reset the United Nation’s agenda. And it creates norm-setting clubs to challenge the G-7, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which can be built around authoritarian regimes.”

Attendees at the summit in South Korea, which brought together hundreds of democracy and human rights activists from around the world, voiced concerns about this framework. And there are bigger questions at stake, too:

“What exactly are the democratic norms that are threatened by regulatory restrictions on NGOs? How exactly can traditional values, faiths or beliefs be reconciled with universal human rights?” To find out more about his thoughts on these issues, you can read the remainder of the article here. It’s been published on Democracy Matters – the new conversation from Devex.

Featured image – flickr – michaelswan

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