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September 11 marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Democratic Charter in Lima, Peru. The first document of its kind, the Charter defined the elements a democracy should have and established a step-by-step process for building a hemispheric defense of democracy. Among the most important aspects of the Charter is the recognition that democracy is a right and that independence of the judiciary, the right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and free and fair elections are all integral to its construction.
Over the last two decades the Charter has been invoked in specific instances of political and institutional crises to impede democratic decline. However, the record for preventing democratic backsliding through its use is mixed at best. In the current era of increasing authoritarianism, democratic norms and institutions are under intensifying threat. Many countries in the region are experiencing a closing of civic space, an increase in militarization, and a lack of independence of the judiciary among other issues. And polarization contributes to an atmosphere where valid election results are contested, fomenting distrust in the democratic process.
Can the Charter help stop another swing of the pendulum back towards greater authoritarianism? What are the main challenges both inside and outside the Organization of American States (OAS) that the Charter faces?
We invite participants to submit questions using the Q&A function in Zoom OR to email questions to email@example.com.
Please note this event will take place in both Spanish and English. Simultaneous translation in both languages is available for those who join the event online through the RSVP.
President, Inter-American Dialogue (@MichaelShifter)
Secretary General, Organization of American States (@Almagro_OEA2015)
Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers, United Nations; Former Peruvian Foreign Minister of Affairs (@UNIndepJudges)
President, Justicia Transicional México (JTMX) (@macostau)
Director, Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program, Inter-American Dialogue (@SantiagoACanton)