Inter-American Democratic Charter
The peoples of America have the right to democracy and their governments have the obligation to promote and defend it.
Democracy is essential for the social, political and economic development of the peoples of the Americas.
The effective exercise of representative democracy is the basis of the rule of law and constitutional regimes of the Member States of the Organization of American States.
Representative democracy is reinforced and deepened with the permanent, ethical and responsible participation of citizens in a framework of legality in accordance with the respective constitutional order.
Essential elements of representative democracy are, among others, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; access to power and its exercise subject to the rule of law.
The holding of periodic elections, free, fair and based on universal and secret suffrage as an expression of the sovereignty of the people. The plural regime of political parties and organizations ; and the separation and independence of public powers.
( Read also: Democracy and Human Rights )
The transparency of government activities, probity, are fundamental components of the exercise of democracy. The responsibility of governments in public management. Respect for social rights and freedom of expression and of the press.
The constitutional subordination of all State institutions or the legally constituted civil authority and respect for the rule of law of all entities and sectors of society are equally fundamental to democracy.
The strengthening of parties and other political organizations is a priority for democracy. Special attention should be given to the problems arising from the high costs of electoral campaigns and the establishment of a balanced and transparent system of financing their activities.
More information on the Inter-American Democratic Charter
The participation of citizens in decisions regarding their own development is a right and a responsibility. It is also a necessary condition for the full and effective exercise of democracy.Promoting and encouraging various forms of participation strengthens democracy.