G7, India, others back open democratic societies

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New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) The G7 countries along with guest countries, including India, on Sunday committed themselves to create open societies and strengthen democracies and rules-based international order.
The leaders of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the United States of America and the European Union, reaffirmed their shared belief in open societies, democratic values and multilateralism as foundations for dignity, opportunity and prosperity for all and for the responsible stewardship of our planet.
As leaders of over half of the world’s population living in democracies, they said, it is imperative that they reaffirm and encourage others to embrace the values that bind them together, including their respect for international rules and norms relating to human rights, democracy, social inclusion, gender equality, freedom of expression, the rule of law, multilateral system and civic space.
The group said that it is at a critical juncture, “facing threats to freedom and democracy from rising authoritarianism, electoral interference, corruption, economic coercion, manipulation of information, including disinformation, online harms and cyber attacks, politically motivated internet shutdowns, human rights violations and abuses, terrorism and violent extremism.”
“We also face threats to our social fabric from persistent inequalities and discrimination, including racism and resistance to gender equality. In the midst of these threats we will work together to create an open and inclusive rules-based international order for the future that promotes universal human rights and equal opportunities for all.”
To address their own vulnerabilities and tackle common threats, the group committed to cooperate together and with partners to strengthen open societies globally by protecting civic space and media freedom, promoting freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, and freedom of religion or belief, and by tackling all forms of discrimination, including racism.
The group and guest nations also committed to continue to exchange information and coordinate effective responses to shared threats to human rights, democracy and the rule of law, such as disinformation and arbitrary detention, including through relevant partnerships such as the Rapid Response Mechanism, as appropriate.
Besides, the G7 plus others resolved to promote economic openness and resilience and oppose economic coercion by reasserting our shared economic model, which is founded on open markets, fair competition, and the rule of law, and by reforming the World Trade Organization.
They will also collaborate on science-based responses to global challenges and drive innovation by calling on every nation to increase their research transparency and integrity.

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