SDG Conference Panel 3: Widening Gap between Erosion of Democracy and Rise of Autocracy will discuss:
The intermediate distance between democracies and autocracies is increasing as 2023 remarked the 19th consecutive year of decline in democratic governance worldwide. There is a formidable increase in the number of transitional/hybrid regimes particularly in Central Europe and Asia in the last decade. With the rise of various state-led crimes and conflicts, many formerly democratic nations are trapped in the cycle of autocracy prioritizing political interests over human rights norms, oppression of citizens` right to peaceful protests, increasing forms of violence, consolidating power at the expense of ruling out checks and balances systems.
Populist leaders continue to abuse the will of the voters, polarize societies, induce hatred within communities and limit political pluralism. In 2022 – 2023, there were many critical elections that the global citizens, journalists, and intergovernmental observatories closely monitored. Many polls took place in electoral autocracies where multiparty candidates existed but only in the sphere of limited freedom of expression and insufficient components of free and fair election processes. In many of the elections that took place under the shadow of oppressive regimes, civic activism still strived to protect their fundamental civil and political rights despite the high cost of imprisonment or forced displacement.
Under these circumstances, responsibility on the shoulders of democratic states and intergovernmental organizations increases as decisive actions must be taken through multilateral diplomacy to support democratic governance and uphold human rights for all. Supporting civil society which operates under high risks of reprisals in hybrid regimes and global advocacy for the release of political prisoners and human rights defenders are vital actions.
The Widening gap between democracies and autocracies is not only an impediment to local governance but the oppressive regimes pose a global threat to the rule of law and human rights as transnational repression are reportedly on the rise. Direct attacks on dissidents living in exile, co-opting other countries to act against international human rights law, mobility impediments, online intimidation and surveillance remains among the primary methods of repression. The security of human rights defenders, journalists, academics, and civil society members who sought protection in another state remains in a dilemma as the extra-judicial acts of autocratic leaders continue their coordinated mobilities in host countries.
Panel Session 3 – Widening Gap between Erosion of Democracy and Rise of Autocracy will discuss:
- Elections under electoral autocracies: Recent analysis from country cases
- Civil society resilience and solidarity against the authoritarianism
- Keeping a spotlight on human rights defenders in distress and advocating for the release of political prisoners
- The proliferation of transnational crimes for global peace and security
- Rising trends of populism