In May 2018, a working group of global parliamentarians and parliamentary networks convened at the Ninth Global Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy in Dakar, Senegal, to discuss parliamentary efforts to promote democracy and uphold human rights around the world. With contributions from the African Liberal Network (ALN); ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR); Council of Asian Liberal Democrats (CALD); Former MEPs Association; International Republican Institute (IRI); National Democratic Institute (NDI); National Endowment for Democracy (NED); Parliamentarians for Global Action; U.S. Former Members of Congress Association; and Women Political Leaders (WPL), several recommendations were produced, including the development of a Parliamentary Call for Global Democratic Renewal.
This global call, launched in coordination and with the support of the Forum 2000 Foundation and the International Coalition for Democratic Renewal, outlines actions parliamentarians can take to support the protection of democratic norms and human rights in their own legislatures and globally. These actions include addressing disinformation campaigns and the weaponization of social media, advancing the political inclusion of minorities and marginalized groups, encouraging accountable governance of the people through fair elections, and insisting on the safety of parliamentarians and civic activists who may be targeted for their efforts to uphold human rights.
To sign-on to the Parliamentary Call for Global Democratic Renewal, please email GlobalSignOn@ndi.org.
Parliamentary Call for Global Democratic Renewal
We, the undersigned parliamentarians, call upon our peers to take urgent action to defend democratic norms and values around the world. Increasingly, aggressive authoritarian regimes are tightening repression at home, while also seeking to expand their power abroad. In addition to using more traditional hard power mechanisms, authoritarian regimes are using a growing arsenal of “sharp power” tools, such as disinformation and computational propaganda, politically motivated investment strategies, and the use of corrupt practices to advance political influence. Increased authoritarian aggression must not go unchallenged.
At the same time, weakened democratic leadership and changing international democratic norms have also emboldened growing illiberalism in many countries around the world. Globalization, migration, and income inequality have heightened social tensions in many societies — tensions which authoritarian regimes have often sought to exacerbate to further weaken the global influence of democratic countries. Political leaders in democratic countries must redouble their efforts to counter growing intolerance, uphold international human rights, and work to counter the erosion of democratic norms.
To address global threats to democracy, the undersigned current and former members of parliament, call upon their global peers to urgently take the following actions:
- Counter authoritarian aggression and disinformation. Authoritarian aggression and hybrid warfare designed to undermine democracies, if allowed to go unchallenged, simply invites escalation. We call upon our peers to take protective and preventive actions to counter hostile information operations, cyber attacks, and the weaponization of social media, while protecting freedom of expression.
- Defend democratic norms and political inclusion. The democratic norms that have guided the international system since World War II are under systemic threat from authoritarian and illiberal actors, who are seeking to sow political division and fuel ethnic, religious, and racial tensions to cultivate illiberal responses. We call upon our peers to redouble efforts to defend liberal democratic norms and advance political inclusion, including values of multi-culturalism, and ethnic and religious tolerance. In particular, we call upon our peers to support the full inclusion of women and other historically marginalized groups in political life.
- Stand up for human rights and fight corruption and kleptocracy. Abuses of human rights and the erosion of ethical standards in democratic governments play into a false authoritarian narrative that all political systems are equally corrupt. We call upon our peers to hold accountable government officials, in their countries and abroad, who commit human rights violations or acts of corruption, or who benefit from money-laundering and tax evasion. We also encourage our peers to demand an end to attacks on parliamentarians and civic activists who are targeted for their efforts to uphold human rights and ethical standards in their countries.
- Secure genuine elections. We call upon our peers to ensure that elections are genuinely democratic by using their legislative, budgetary and oversight powers to:1) guarantee that election management bodies are politically impartial; 2) implement open electoral data principles to build public confidence; 3) combat disinformation; 4) make policy decisions about adopting electoral technologies and other procurements in an inclusive, transparent and accountable manner; and 5) establish political finance regimes that foster fair pluralist competition and allow for public monitoring of political finance.
- Insist on accountable government. We call upon our peers to encourage and support the strengthening of public institutions in order to promote government transparency and accountability. We also encourage our peers to use their legislative, budgetary, and oversight powers to ensure a foreign policy that differentiates between states and political leaders who abide by international democratic and human rights norms, and those who routinely violate these norms. Lastly, we encourage our peers to incorporate more constructive opposition relations, in addition to robust foreign assistance funding designed to improve democracy, human rights, and governance.
- Mobilize peers to advance democratic renewal. We call upon our peers to mobilize their colleagues in support of the aforementioned actions through such measures as: heightened advocacy within the parliament and at the international level; the formation of a democracy caucus or all-party group in parliament to promote global, democratic renewal; or support for democratic commitments and initiatives, such as the Prague Appeal for Democratic Renewal.
Democratic solidarity is essential in countering authoritarian aggression and promoting the growth of democratic values around the world. Together, through a unified effort, democratic renewal can be achieved.
Translated versions of the letter are available in Spanish and French below.
List of Signatories
Janar Akaev, Kyrgyzstan
Armando Daniel Armas Cuartin, Venezuela
Petra Bayr, Austria
Amina Balla Kalto, Niger
Bréhima Beredogo, Mali
Ito Bisonó, Dominican Republic
Jorge Cálix, Honduras
Suzi Carla Barbosa, Guinea-Bisau
Margareta Cederfelt, Sweden
Amadou Cissé, Niger
Haidara Aichata Cissé, Mali
Soumaila Cissé, Mali
M. Aliou Condéc, Guinee
Leila M. de Lima, Philippines
Aissata Touré Diallo, Mali
Zoumana Doumbia, Mali
Maimouna Drame, Mali
Ali Ehsassi, Canada
Rabi Dan Fari, Niger
Eglantina Gjermeni, Albania
Ana Gomes, Portugal
Aissata Haidara, Mali
Filip Kaczmarek, Poland
Emily Lau, Hong Kong
Barbara Lochbihler, Germany
Carolina Magdalene Maier, Denmark
Boubacar Maiga, Mali
Alkaida Mamoudou, Mali
Jean Wyllys Matos Santos, Brazil
Levy Nazare, São Tomé and Príncipe
Hryhoriy Nemyria, Ukraine
Antonio Rosario Niquice, Mozambique
Kasit Piromya, Thailand
Mark Pritchard, UK
Lia Quartapelle, Italy
Sandith Samarasinghe, Sri Lanka
Jose Manuel Sanches Tavares, Cabo Verde
Oyun Sanjaasuren, Mongolia
Brigitte Sansoucy, Canada
Charles Santiago, Malaysia
Aguissa Seydou Touré, Mali
Chung-kai Sin, Hong Kong
Kiat Sittheeamorn, Thailand
Mu Sochua, Cambodia
Eva Sundari, Indonesia
Amadou Thiam, Mali
Moussa Timbiné, Mali
Anita Vandenbeld, Canada
Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thailand
Emanuelis Zingeris, Lithuania
Szymon Ziółkowski, Poland
Joint Statement on Xi Jinping Threats
Personalities, who are part of Working Group on the Global Influence of China and its Impact on Democracy expressed their solidarity with Taiwan in the context of statement of Xi Jinping, Secretary General of the Communist Party of China and President of the People’s Republic of China regarding using force against Taiwan on January 2, 2019.
ICDR China Working Group Joint Statement on Xi Jinping Threats to Taiwan, Peace and Stability
January 7, 2019
The International Coalition for Democratic Renewal (ICDR) China Working Group condemns belligerent remarks made by Chinese Communist Party Secretary-General Xi Jinping during his address to “Taiwanese compatriots” on the morning of January 2, 2019. During his speech, Mr. Xi stated that China “made no promise to renounce the use of force against Taiwan” to compel unification between authoritarian China and democratic Taiwan.
Remarks of this nature send a disturbing signal not only to the 23 million peace-loving people of Taiwan, but to the region and the community of nations as well. Such statements contradict the repeatedly stated wishes of the international community that disputes can be resolved peacefully, but reaffirm the view that China, as it is led today by the CCP, constitutes a threat to the international order, to peace, and to stability.
President Xi’s insistence on the “one country, two systems” formula for Taiwan — an offer which has very little appeal among the Taiwanese people, in part due to the negative impact this formula has had on freedoms and liberties in Hong Kong, especially in the past five years — also highlights the regime’s antidemocratic proclivities. The threats against Taiwan are part of a larger context. This imposition on a sovereign people, and the overt threat of force should coercion fail to deliver the expected results, occurs as the Chinese regime increasingly ignores international law in the South China Sea through the occupation and militarization of that important area, and norms of humane governance in its own country, where critics of the regime, activists, lawyers, intellectuals and religious figures face hardening repression. The highly disturbing revelations of the presence of concentration camps in Xinjiang, where a million Muslims of Uyghur, Kazakh and other nationalities are reported to be facing forced re-education, the eradication of religious and ethnic identity of Muslims in Xinjiang and other parts of China, the constant crackdown in Tibet targeting Buddhists and Tibetan culture, and the repression of underground Christian churches across China also serve as a reminder of the kind of regime that the international community needs to deal with.
Added to the intensifying assault by China on the world’s democratic institutions through its “sharp power,” the use of “debt trap” to grab territory and infrastructure in other countries, the weaponization of African votes at United Nations institutions, the exploitation of AI to erect an unprecedentedly intrusive surveillance state, harassment of Chinese communities and minorities abroad, the incessant cyber attacks on government institutions and private enterprises worldwide, secret detentions, and the hostage-taking of foreign nationals, it is clear that the Chinese threat against democratic Taiwan, renewed in January 2, is no aberration. Rather, it is but one element in a series of challenges to peace and stability by a rampant human-rights violator, a state that we can no longer afford to regard as a normal participant in international relations. Taiwan is in the frontline of this assault on the world order, and a “grand bargain” trading its independence for hoped-for concessions on other matters would not resolve the fundamental contradiction that exists between the CCP worldview and the international order that we cherish.
The ICDR China Working Group and likeminded signatories call on the community of nations to join forces in the defense of peace, decency, democracy, human rights, and the rules-based order that has contributed to human prosperity over the past seven decades by condemning the bellicose behavior of the Chinese regime.
Working Group on the Global Influence of China and its Impact on Democracy
International Coalition for Democratic Renewal
List of Signatories
Mauricio Alarcón, Ecuador
Hernán Alberro, Argentina
Milos Alcalay, Venezuela
Gerardo Bongiovanni, Argentina
Ernesto Borda, Colombia
Darko Brkan, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Andreas Bummel, Germany
Ana Marietta Colanzi Forfori, Bolivia
China Digital Times
J. Michael Cole, Canada/Taiwan
Manuel Cuesta Morúa, Cuba
Jiří Dědeček, Czech Republic
Democracy Without Borders
Brigitte Dufour, Belgium
René Gómez Manzano, Cuba
Marcel Granier, Venezuela
Axel Kaiser, Chile
Ondřej Klimeš, Czech Republic
Ford Fu-Te Liao, Taiwan
Sarunas Liekis, Lithuania
Guy Magloire Mafimba, Republic of the Congo
Andrea Ngombet, Republic of the Congo
Ivan Pilip, Czech Republic
Kateřina Procházková, Czech Republic
Xiao Qiang, China
Rafael Rincón, Venezuela/Chile
André Okombi Salissa, Republic of the Congo
Gabriel Salvia, Argentina
Tamara Sujú, Venezuela
Taiwan Foundation for Democracy
Zamira Sydykova, Kyrgyzstan
Zasto ne/Why not