Messages of support from democracy leaders

July 26, 2003
Singapore Democrats

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European Liberals and Democrats welcome Dr Chee Soon Juan’s initiative to hold an International Youth Conference on Democracy in Singapore. Freedom and democracy are just as important to Asians as to Caucasians. The gradual but inexorable flowering of democracy on your continent must not pass any country by. Through international co-operation and the sharing of experiences we can all contribute to the power of ideas whose time has come. Liberals and Democrats across Europe stand together with you shoulder to shoulder in this cause.
Graham Watson
Member of the European Parliament
Leader of the European Liberals and Democrats

I wish [the Singapore Democratic Party] well in conducting an International Youth Conference on Democracy on July 25-27, 2003. A thriving democracy demands inclusion of all citizens to ensure that all voices are heard. Young people can bring new ideas and solutions and it is, therefore, essential to include them in peaceful change in a society. After all, it is their future we are constructing. My sincere hope for a peaceful, constructive and open dialogue in your conference for youth.
R. Andreychuk
Senator
The Senate of Canada

On behalf of the Council of Asian Liberals & Democrats, I would like to extend my warm greetings to the delegates of the International Youth Conference for Democracy.

CALD, the only umbrella of political parties in Asia, believes that it is only through the participation of key sectors of society can we realize our collective goals of peace, justice, democracy and development. And the youth sector is not only the biggest but it is also the most dynamic.

We who are part of political parties are only too aware of the key roles and strategic relevance played by youth wings. Youth wings become training grounds for future political leaders. Two, they help young people like themselves get involved in democratic exercises such as voting in elections and poll watching. Three, they contribute significantly to the renewal and reinvigoration of political parties.

Young people now even face greater responsibilities with the challenges of globalization, terrorism and the widening wedges between the rich and the poor among and within nations. This conference would then serve as a forum where young people can discuss amongst themselves solutions to the most pressing problems of their communities, their countries and the international community of nations.

As we have seen in democratic transitions in countries such as the Philippines, Korea and Indonesia, youth power was instrumental in bringing about change and reform. And even in societies where democratic institutions and processes have been firmly put in place, we need youth power to sustain these gains and further bring about progress in all aspects of our national lives.

My congratulations to the organizers of the conference and our sincere welcome to all the participants.
M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, MP
Chair
Council of Asian Liberals & Democrats

I want to congratulate the Young Democrats of the Singapore Democratic Party for pulling off this landmark conference in Singapore. Young people all over the world must be at the forefront of the struggle for democracy and the International Youth Conference for Democracy will add signficantly to that effort. If the people of Hong Kong can stand up for democracy as we did in astounding numbers on July 1, so can Singaporeans.”
Martin Lee
Member of Hong Kong Legislative Council
Former chairman of Hong Kong Democrats