Thursday, September 23, 2004

Democracy and International Organizations

The actions of the UN are disappointing to many of us. We know changes must be made
if this organization is to be relevant in the current world situation.

"In fact, democratic countries are already combining their energies to advance freedom. Chile hosted a meeting of foreign ministers of the Community of Democracies (CD) Convening Group at the start of this year's General Assembly. In Geneva, our ambassador has joined meetings with members of this group and other countries who are on the Commission on Human Rights, to discuss our shared concerns. Here in Washington, we are hosting a series of lunches with large and small, new and not-so-new democracies to hear their ideas and concerns.
We are also listening to the concerns of civil society. Non-governmental organizations frequent my bureau to discuss the UN's difficulties in protecting and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms. Everyone has a stake in helping the UN and international organizations work better in these areas.
But it is ultimately up to the member states of international organizations, and especially the United Nations, to exert more self-discipline in their decision-making. This is true whether they are involved in establishing program and budget priorities, electing countries to leadership positions and commissions, voting for sanctions, or passing resolutions. Democratic principles should underpin all that they do. Because what they decide will reflect on the credibility of the entire institution, which so many people hope can be a source of moral authority in the world. "

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