Dear reader,


"Democratic backsliding" is the term used when democracies regress into authoritarian systems. This was recently a major topic at a seminar with democracy activists in the Netherlands, to which I was also invited. Parliaments are trimmed by the executive, citizens' rights restricted, and minority rights abolished – unfortunately, a global trend at the moment.


During the seminar, I experienced first-hand how closely we are following this tendency. While we were discussing the backsliding and looking for solutions, a right-wing populist party was elected as the strongest political force in the Netherlands. When the news reached the seminar room via the media in the early evening, all the participants, including myself, were completely shocked. For a brief moment it felt as if autocracy itself was knocking on the door of the seminar room, demanding to be let in.


After the initial shock, however, a sense of determination returned to us. We looked into each other's eyes and realised that we were not alone. And giving up was not an option! We left the seminar with that feeling, and the feeling remains with us.


Yes, it's a bitter fact that autocracies are on the rise worldwide and democracies are falling behind - we all have to realise that. The elections in the Netherlands are not the first ones to show that democratic societies are now being actively challenged by those for whom civil rights, equality and the freedom of others have always been an obstacle. We must stand together here and now against those who want to abolish democracy!


How can we do that? By speaking up. But also by listening and allowing other arguments to be heard. It is the conversations in the family, with friends or neighbours that bring democracy to life. But also the courage to disagree and to argue. By engaging in dialogue as equals, we strengthen democracy.  


At Democracy International, we work to bring these meeting places beyond our own living rooms and garden fences. Through our 'Life as an activist' project, we followed democracy activists from different countries and shared their stories through videos and webinars. Our Democracy Camp in September brought together 50 young people from six European countries to learn about human rights, climate and sustainability. And through our eurVote eurFuture project, we are working with nine other organisations across Europe to get people involved in next year's European Parliament elections. 


2024 is a giant election year - more people around the world than ever before will be called upon to elect their representatives and shape the policies of the coming years. I hope 2024 will also be a giant year for democracy! Let's fight for it together. Join us, take action for democracy and human rights and, if you can, support our work at Democracy International with a donation!

Together we are strong!

Thank you for your commitment and enjoy reading our newsletter!

Yours sincerely,

Andreas Müller
Managing Director

Democracy International e.V




Lightroom for Democracy and Human Rights,
Inspired by the light and sound installation "Voices of Democracy" by video artist Edda Dietrich, we will try to understand together what human rights mean to us, how they affect our lives and how we can defend them.


Register here for more information.

15-18. MAY 2024, BUCHAREST

Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy,

For the first time ever, the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy is heading to Eastern Europe! From 15 to 18 May 2024, the world's largest conference on direct democracy will convene in Bucharest, Romania.


Register here for more information.



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