Message Extended by U Win Myint, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy
15 September 2018
My fellow citizens,
At the outset, I would like to extend my best wishes for all citizens of Myanmar to fully enjoy the essence of democracy in unity and for the democratic practices to flourish in Myanmar on this auspicious occasion of the International Day of Democracy.
The 62nd United Nations General Assembly in 2007 designated 15 September as the International Day of Democracy to annually celebrate with the aim to honour the sovereign countries practicing democracy, to promote and uphold the practices of democracy, to strengthen the spirit of democracy among the people, and to carry on the democratic reform process in the future.
This year marks the eighth anniversary of the celebration of the International Day of Democracy in Myanmar. In other words, it can be said that our country has undergone democratic transition for eight years.
My fellow citizens,
The theme selected by the Inter-Parliamentary Union this year is “Oversight”. In a democratic society, government is a basic entity existed together with political parties, civil societies, other associations and the media.
Therefore, they all bear the responsibility to oversee in order to maintain and strengthen democracy. If we all fulfill our own responsibility, the significance of the theme “Oversight” will become meaningful.
Democracy is endowed with Justice, Freedom and Equality. Democracy also leads to peace and development of a country and prosperity for its people. Moreover, Democracy guarantees the right to live, freedom and happiness.
Equality according to the individual’s physical and mental power, equality of opportunities, legal equality and equality in doing business and economic sectors are the values of democracy for the people. The famous German philosopher Immanuel Kant quoted “If all the countries in the world practice democracy, it would be able to establish an era of perpetual peace.” Democracy is the primary source of peace. That is why Democracy is priceless.
Collective strength and concerted efforts exerted by all the nationalities are crucial in building a Democratic Federal Union which all our people aspire to. We are also witnessing that the entire people are collectively striving for the emergence of a Democratic Federal Union. As democratic system is centred on people’s collective strength and power, we have to put people’s aspirations and desires at the forefront. We also need to take into account the basic rights, freedom and minority rights of each and every citizen in a democratic system. Similarly, it is important for people’s representatives to find solutions by consensus and in a transparent manner.
At the same time, we need to be aware of the risks of bogus democracy. Democracy-related risks involve people who do not want democracy, who wish to destroy democracy, who do not believe in democracy, who believe in democracy but wish to take democratic transition into their own hands leading to the revitalization of dictatorship, who misuse democracy in favour of dictatorship and who wish to take over people’s power not in line with democratic practices. We need to be seriously cautious of those risks.
My fellow citizens,
Myanmar is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country as many ethnic nationalities with different cultural backgrounds and faiths live together. It is important to create harmony and unity in diversity. Creating harmony and unity would assure the success of the national reconciliation and peace process, emergence of a Federal Union and improvement of the socio-economic life of the people.
Peace and stability are fundamental in order to achieve these goals. It is impossible to maintain development without peace. In this regard, I would like to stress that each and every one of us need to fulfil our own duties and responsibilities in the interests of the nation and its people.
Because of the desire, demand and dedication of the people of Myanmar for the democratic rights of freedom, equality and justice, Myanmar is now on the path to democracy. It can be compared that nascent democracy is like a toddler learning to walk; we have to be careful not to falter at this stage and need to have a right balance. If we wish democracy to survive, we have to respect the rule of law and existing rules and regulations. Basic principles of democracy such as patience and forgiveness have to be practiced among individuals and institutions. Compromise, negotiation and coordination are the essence of democracy, which are crucial for a thriving democracy.
If we look back at our history of pre-independence, our forefathers had well-planned inspirations to build up what type of country, what would be the rights of the people. Our national anthem reflects democratic norms such as fairness, freedom, equality and neutrality. Therefore, I would like to urge the people to consistently strive to implement those rights, enshrined in the national anthem.
During her visit to Singapore last month, the State Counsellor delivered a lecture with the theme of “Myanmar’s Democratic Transition: Challenges and Way Forward”. In the lecture, the State Counsellor underscored that people’s participation in democratic transformation process is a powerful strength as well as a big challenge. It is a dire challenge to integrate the wills and aspirations of the millions of people to highlight amazing complex diversities of the country. The State Counsellor reiterated her belief that the citizens of Myanmar would successfully overcome the challenges of democratic transformation process. These facts highlight the primary role of the people to achieve our objectives.
The democratic system is based on the theory which stated that “democratic government is to serve the people, not the people are to serve the government”. To nurture democracy, we have to abstain from wrong-doings and it is necessary for all to take part in establishing democratic root to foster peace, development, human rights and rule of law. In democratic system, people have the right to learn, the right to know and the right to speech. Besides, they would be able to get a chance to enjoy the rights to contribute to the political process of the country.
My fellow citizens,
Therefore, on the Day of International Democracy, may I convey this message and my best wishes for all ethnic nationals to be able to strive together with “collective strength” of the people to bring about a united and harmonious society in the spirit of mutual understanding, respect, trust and amity as well as for successful building of a Democratic Federal Union.