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Overcoming Dilemmas of Democratisation: Protecting Civil Liberties and the Right to Democracy

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The on-going global shift toward democratic government, vividly joined in recent years by the Arab World, is tempered by the many challenges of democratic transitions. The toppling of an autocratic leader does not automatically mean the rise of democracy. Elections do not guarantee the protection of civil liberties. And democratic leaders are not immune from the seductions of power and the incentives of dismantling democracy’s institutional checks and balances. The costs to a society and the international community for democratic reversals are high in terms of civil liberties, human rights, human development and political instability. Strengthening international legal instruments including mechanisms to enhance accountability for violence against journalists and proscribe the subversion of democratic institutions as a crime against democracy can help overcome these conundrums.

Affiliations: 1: Senior Research Scholar, Centre for International and Strategic Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA Director of Research, Africa Centre for Strategic Studies, Washington, DC, USA

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