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Our democracies are facing somewhat of a challenge

Netanyahu-Trump-elections

In his closing remarks during the Michael Cohen trial in front of the House Oversight Committee in the U.S., Rep. Elijah Cummings said "We are better than this". Adding that "the greatest gift that we can give to our children is making sure is that we give them a democracy that is intact. And not a democracy that is 'better' than the one we came upon."

It seems like an obvious statement, but we shouldn't take Cumming's wish, his cry, lightly. Democracy as we know it is under threat all over the world. While it continues to 'function', we are now facing challenges like never before. Rigging, corruption, intimidation tactics and hacks are just a few of the barries we need to overcome if we are to keep our current democracies intact. 

On Tuesday, Israelis went out to the polling stations for the second time in six months, and the country has never been so divided. Nevertheless, and despite incumbent prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's intimidating tactics to suppress voter turnout, especially of Israeli Arabs, people turned out in their masses. As one of the only functioning democracies in the Middle East, civilian persistence to maintain its voter rights and cast their vote should not be taken lightly. 

Welcome back to FairPlanet's weekly roundup. Democracy is our right. Read. Debate: Engage.

The good

Autocracies have lessened over the past 100 years

As recorded by Our World in Data, autocracies around the work are on the decline while democracies are on a serious rise. The majority of the world’s countries are now democracies. The chart below shows the consistent rise in the number of democracies since 1900.

According to Our World in Data, the end of World War I led to the birth of many democracies – it marked a turning point in global politics. And yet, during the 1930s, many of these young democracies then reverted to being autocratic. After World War II, the number of democracies began growing again. But it wasn't until the fall of the Iron Curtain and the dismantling of the Soviet Union in 1989 that we really begin to see a more dramatic increase in the number of democracies across the globe.

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The bad

Many people are oppressed by our current democracies

While democracy works for some of us, it does not always act fairly across all citizens and populations. Across the globe, indigenous populations face increasing risks to their independence and well-being. Facing harsh racism, encroachment and degradation of their lands by mining companies and corporations, mounting violent attacks, and the ravages of climate change – indigenous peoples’ fight for survival has never been more acute. 

Survival International is a non-for-profit organisation working to protect the lives and lands of indigenous populations across the world – from India to Congo to the Amazon. 

Democracy that functions means it must cater to everyone's needs, and protecting those of indiginous populations is no exception.

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Survival International protects the indigenous people of the world

by Yair Oded

Survival International supports indigenous tribes around the world in the fight for their rights to land, life, and livelihood.
Democracy at Stake
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On Tyranny: A close inspection of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

by Ithamar Handelman-Smith

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu casts a dark shadow over the the future of Israeli democracy, as western democracies face similar challenges.
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Is global democracy on trial?

by Bob Koigi

"...As we commemorate the International Day of Democracy, let us remember that democracy flourishes when people feel represented ..." Crisipin Kaheru, CCEDU
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Rising authoritarianism in the world’s largest democracy

by Tish Sanghera

Are Kashmiris now really able to enjoy the rights of other Indians?
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Elections are the way out of war in Afghanistan; not an option

by Shadi Khan Saif

Afghans deserve a dignified, safe and free choice to vote their future leadership, demands our author Shadi Khan.
Country focus
Afghanistan
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Afghanistan has been battling with domestic wars over the recent decades, leaving the country in ruins, with its infrastructure crumbling. The landlocked nation of over 31 million citizens has experienced a militant and bloody ruling of the Taliban for most of its modern history. 

Following the 2001 US invasion, when the Taliban was expelled by US troops, Afghans have experienced severe damage to their economy and basic foundations. Nato-led troops have been in charge of maintaining peace in the country since. However, over the past 5 years, since 2014, the Taliban has returned to the country, inflicting strict Islamic rule. The media does not operate freely in the country, with journalists facing threat to their lives for free speech and freedom of reporting.