Absurdist Republic, 17 January 2007.
In his speech presented to the US Senate Department, Barry F. Lowenkron, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour, speaks to the role of NGOs in the development of democracy.
He notes the role of NGOs as international actors as well as shapers of national policy as being one of the most important trends in international relations. He maintains that NGOs, more specifically NGOs working in democracy help to strengthen democracy in three ways:
1. Democracy NGOs work to establish awareness of and respect for the right of individuals to exercise freedoms of expression, assembly and association, which is crucial to participatory democracy.
2. They work to ensure that there is a level playing field upon which candidates for elective office can compete and that the entire elections process is free and fair.
3. Finally, democracy NGOs work to build and strengthen the rule of just laws and responsive and accountable institutions of government so that the rights of individuals are protected regardless of which persons or parties may be in office at any given time.