Declaration on the need to strengthen our democracies, fight against reactionary populism and the search for peace

Meeting of the SI Council in Geneva, 7-8 July 2022

Original: Spanish

The Socialist International expresses its concern about the threats that surround democracy in the world and expresses its commitment to being a platform for building peace and democracy.

Humanity is currently facing the effects of the 3 Cs (COVID, climate change and conflicts), with their corresponding impact on democracies.

Democracy and peace form an inseparable pair. War and conflicts put democracies at serious risk and fuel global challenges such as reactionary populism, the decline in respect for the women’s rights, the food crisis or the forced migration of victims of armed conflicts, and persecution or mass violations of human rights.

We are now experiencing it acutely with the war in Ukraine, in which civilians are always the main victims of the conflict and the SI reiterates its wholehearted condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

We live in a time when reactionary populism, based on discourses that appeal to emotions and feelings, seeks a false empathy and a quick acceptance of simple, and mostly unrealistic, responses to complex issues, making democratic processes and institutions the central focus of their criticisms.

Under cover of these reactionary populisms, setbacks are taking place in regard to rights that we thought were consolidated. Thus, we are seeing how the full exercise of human rights by women is threatened, including, among others, their sexual and reproductive rights and the right to live a life free of violence, to which we are firmly committed. It is profoundly condemnable that rape continues to be a weapon that aggressors frequently use.

In armed and political conflicts, in the lack of life opportunities, as well as in the climate emergency and the economic and social crises, we find the roots of the flight effect that moves millions of people in the world to migrate. Migrations are inherent in the history of humanity and civilizations. We are the result of innumerable migratory processes. The challenges posed by migratory movements must be addressed from a global perspective, requiring coordinated responses sustained in respect for human rights. We are concerned about the increase in the population of refugee and displaced persons in the world, as well as the use of migrants as a form of pressure against other sovereign states.

It is necessary to advance in the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration signed in 2018.

Another issue to which we draw attention is the food crisis that threatens the international community as a whole. The growth in food prices and the input necessary for their production are a challenge for the right to life, but also for democracies and for the social and political stability of countries.

Enough food is produced in the world to feed the entire world population. However, the concentration of production in a small number of products and producers hinders the sustainability of agro-food systems and, as a consequence, global food security.

We call for the coordination of the initiatives launched in different areas, emphasising our support for the work of the United Nations to guarantee food security and the right to food for all people.

The growing inequality between countries and within those countries with non-redistributive policies is also a threat to democracy.

In this context, social democratic policies that combine economic growth with advances in rights and equal opportunities as a pillar for the construction of prosperous and supportive societies are presented as the best alternative to protect democracy and peace.

It is not a trivial matter to note that social democratic governments are on the rise. The COVID-19 pandemic and its effects have confirmed that only with public policies that strengthen the welfare state can the crisis be overcome in a resolute manner, leaving no one behind.

We defend social democracy with solidarity, the fraternity between the socialist family that works together so that no one is left behind, promoting inclusive, egalitarian development, concerned about the environment, and rooted in an international rules-based order.

The Council of the Socialist International sees the need to reaffirm the defense of the values of peace and democracy at the center of our collective political action, consolidating the SI as a place for expanding rights and dialogue for the strengthening of democratic institutions and good governance.



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