United Nations International Day of Democracy - 15 September

In 2007, the United Nations Genereral Assembly designated 15 Seotember as International Day of Democracy, with a view to promoting and upholding the principles of democracy..

Many of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 16 are geared towards protecting democratic institutions, in particular::

  • 16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all

  • 16.5 Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms

  • 16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels

  • 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels

  • 16.10 Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements

We are marking the UN International Day of Democracy with a webinar to discuss how to increase the supply of social housing in the UK. Although Democracy Day is on 15 September, we are meeting on 20th to avoid clashes.

The right to housing is a fundamental democratic freedom and it is difficult to exercise the vote in many democracies, including the UK, without a permanent address. Secure, high quality housing improves health and wellbeing, boosts educational achievement and literally provides a stable foundation for people to reach their potential – including  their potential as active citizens.  Turnout in the 2024 General Election was the lowest since universal suffrage for men and women was introduced in 1929. Disengagement on this scale is a challenge to democracy and turnout among non-homeowners was particularly low. This may partly be because the housing debate in the UK tends to be driven by the hopes and fears of homeowners. The hopes and fears of homeless people and families on the lowest incomes get less attention. Social housing provided by local authorities and housing associations provides a lifeline for these groups, but it is a scarce resource, in desperately short supply. Too many households with severe housing needs languish on waiting lists for years, with no realistic prospect of affordable housing. The government has set a target to build 1.5m homes within the life of this Parliament. This is to be achieved through private investment, levered in by changes to the planning system which are intended to remove obstacles to development. Delivery will therefore depend on the conditions local planning authorities impose on developers. In this webinar we will discuss the funding options for social housing and how we can help to ensure that the housing pipeline includes sufficient numbers of decent social homes in the areas where they are most urgently needed, designed to meet the requirements of local households.

The session will be opened by Dr Nazia Khanum OBE DL, Chair of UNA Luton and former Head of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets’ Race and Housing Action Team. Our main speakers will be Professor Stewart Smyth from Cork University Business School and Dr Suzanne Muna, Secretary and co-founder of the Social Housing Action Campaign. Dr David Cheesman, Secretary of UNA Luton and former Head of Policy, Research and Statistics at the Housing Corporation, will facilitate the discussion.

UN International Day of Democracy, 15 September 2020
Zoom event:  from 4.00pm to 6.00pm (British summer time)

With the Muslim Professionals Forum - London, we held a Zoom event to mark the UN International Day of Democracy: Promoting democratic principles and values for equality, respect, and peace through appropriate action.

Programme for International Day of Democracy 2020.pdf

View message from Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations


Dr David Cheesman: former Head of Policy and Research at the Housing Corporation, former Visiting Professor of Society and Development at Sheffield Hallam University, author of Landlord Power and Rural Indebtedness in Colonial Sind among other publications: Covid-9 and democracy

D Cheesman - Covid-19 and democracy 15 Sept 2020.pdf

Shaista Khan: Marketing Professional, International SDG Consultant-Life Coach-Communications Specialist: Women's empowerment

S Khan - Women's empowerment 15 Sept 2020.pdf

Cllr. Khaled Noor Barrister-at-Law (N/P), Solicitor - Chair of MPF, Councillor, London Borough of Redbridge: Democracy in respect of Mulsim participation and representation in the UK

K Noor Muslim participation 15 Sept 2020.pdf

Dr Helen Connolly: Senior Lecturer in Sociology & Course Coordinator for MA in Human Rights and Social Enterprise, University of Bedfordshire, Chair of Remembering Srebrenica Board for East of England: Refugees in the pandemic

Luton News Faith Matters Day of Democracy 2020.pdf

UNA Luton Literary Awards at Centre for Youth and Community Development, Luton

14 June 2015

To celebrate the achievements of three young authors, published for the first time: Talal Al Zaber, Kaya Hussain and Ihsanul Haque