“I can’t forget the looks on faces of people who’ve lost hope… you have to give people hope.” Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk, gay activist and human rights leader, was one of the first openly gay elected officials in the world. The transformation of many societies in their attitudes not only to gay people, but to women, to people of different race, to people with disabilities, have all come about mainly through civic activism and democratic debate. Democracy has been a pathway to freedom for women and minorities around the world. In the extracts from his speech given after his election Harvey Milk reminds us that democracy is, ultimately, about hope.   Continue reading

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“There is no other way except by understanding and putting into practice every human right for all mankind…” Shirin Ebadi

On each of the days leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, disorderedworld is posting the words of five icons of democracy to remind us of what democracy really means, and inspire us to stand in resolute opposition to the divisive path along which Trump is leading the world. Today Iranian Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi speaks of the vital importance of democracy, human rights and women’s equality for people of the Islamic world. Continue reading

“Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace …” Martin Luther King

Starting today, on the birthday of Martin Luther King, on each of the days leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, disorderedworld will post the words of five icons of democracy to remind us of what democracy really means, and inspire us to stand in resolute opposition to the divisive path along which Trump is leading the world. In the following extract from his acceptance speech for the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, Martin Luther King reminds us that equality and nonviolence, not bullying, intimidation and division, are the very foundations of democracy.

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Understanding Democracy – The Importance of Human Rights

Our modern system of democracy can be seen then to be comprised of six pillars, each of which acts as a defence against the abuse of power by pathologically disordered leaders and elites. Political participation through democratic elections and direct participation of citizens in government, the rule of law applied equally to all, Constitutional constraints on the power of government, a prohibition on the imposition of state sponsored ideology, social democracy to ensure social stability, and finally the protection of fundamental human rights through international law.  Continue reading

Psychopaths and the Rule of Law

Wherever law ends, tyranny begins.

                                            John Locke

The spread of democracy has been one of the most profound political changes in human history, and provides an indispensable defence against those who abuse power by oppressing others. But as many pseudo-democracies attest, elections on their own provide only a weak and often impotent defence. In many countries today that are deemed to be democratic, elections are simply a sham used by leaders to legitimise autocratic rule. The fundamental pillar upon which democracy must rest, and without which it becomes a mockery of itself, is the rule of law.    Continue reading

Celebrating the Creation of the United Nations

On 24 October 1945 the United Nations Organisation was formally inaugurated during a short ceremony at the US State Department in Washington, when twenty nine countries ratified the United Nations Charter. This post celebrates the most significant of the United Nations’ achievements – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.    Continue reading

Empowering Women Reduces Violence

The global struggle for gender equality is not only about justice. Women’s equality is an essential precondition for the reduction of violence and greed in our world.

The debate on women’s rights is about to change radically. Continue reading