Article 21: Access to Public Service.

  • Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
  • Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.
  • The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Whereas the two previous articles have stated rights that give the citizens the power to protect and fight for democracy, this article states the right to actual democracy and manifests the premise of it; the right to take part in the government, the will of the people shall be the basis of the government, periodic and genuine elections, everyone has access to public service. These are the ground principles of democracy. The government serves its people, and not the other way around, which keeps the power in the hands of the people and not in the governments. Furthermore, each individual has an equal voice and vote in a democratic society. Since World War II there has been an increase in democratic states around the world. 

A tool to measure just how democratic a country is is The Democracy Index. Based on 5 categories it ranks countries on a scale of 0-10. Countries with a score between 8,01 – 10 are considered full democracies. There are only 22 countries today ranking high enough to be considered in this category. Ranking highest with a score of 9,87 is Norway. Ranking lowest with a score of 1,08 is North Korea.

Though many countries are considered democratic, the lack of diversity in elected representatives in parliaments and governments are astounding. Women, the disabled, various ethnic groups, etc. are scarcely represented. As of January 2019, only 20,7% of government ministers were women. Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan beautifully said; “, study after study has taught us, there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity or to reduce child and maternal mortality. No other policy is as sure to improve nutrition and promote health, including the prevention of HIV/AIDS. No other policy is as powerful in increasing the chances of education for the next generation.”

Written by Nanna Orloff Mortensen

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