Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on the International Day of Democracy

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
September 15, 2022


As we celebrate the International Day of Democracy, we recognize the basic truth that democracy is the best means to advance peace, prosperity, and security while realizing the boundless potential of every human being.

At its heart, democracy in the United States is based upon a belief in “we the people” having equal protection under the law, and the ability to vote our conscience in free and fair elections to choose our future government. America’s founders knew that no democracy is perfect, but by recognizing our imperfections we can take the steps that move our nation towards a more perfect union. It is through our elections that we strengthen and reaffirm our democratic institutions, ensuring a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Yet today, around the globe, democracy and its fundamental principles are under attack. Make no mistake, Russia’s war against Ukraine is part of a larger struggle between democracy and autocracy, and the United States is committed to protecting and promoting democracy and the core principles that unite all free people.

From the start of the administration, President Biden has made clear that threats to democracy are the number one challenge we face globally. At President Biden’s first Summit for Democracy last December, I was inspired by the young leaders who spoke of their commitment to advancing freedom and democracy in their own countries. The President will hold a second Summit for democracy early next year where governments, civil society, and private sector stakeholders can harness the power of collective action to meet the challenges of our time.

At the United Nations, we work throughout the UN system to bolster the shared principles and fundamental freedoms that underpin every democratic institution. On the Human Rights Council, we actively engage to advance the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights such as freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, all of which strengthen democracies. We recognize that no democracy can succeed without a strong civil society, and we continue to fight for their greater participation in all UN fora so that the voices of all peoples can be heard in the General Assembly. In the UN’s Third Committee focused on human rights, we annually co-sponsor resolutions to advance democratic ideals, combat totalitarianism, and promote and protect the ability of member states to hold free and fair elections.

The United States will continue to support democratic principles wherever they are threatened. Democracy must be defended by every one of us to preserve the freedoms we all cherish.