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Weekly Action - 7 June 2024 - UK Election 2: Democracy and Human Rights


Democracy and human rights in the UK election

This week we complete the second of two weekly actions looking at specific areas to raise with candidates in the run up to the UK general election on 4 July.  We are considering the crucial importance of democracy and human rights as part of Arise’s Reform Movements campaign, both here in the UK and around the world.  In recent years populist politicians in the UK, and indeed in many other long established democracies, have increasingly pushed at the crucial boundaries of telling the truth, treating parliament with respect, maintaining the ministerial code, the independence of the judiciary, freedom to protest, respecting an independent and neutral civil service, and other crucial elements of the UK’s unwritten constitution.  These are all crucial safeguards for freedom, democracy and human rights.  These issues were explored at length in a blog from Arise last year on Democracy Undermined.  Around the world, democracy and human rights are also under threat.  Another Arise blog, earlier this year, explored the findings of Freedom House’s latest annual Freedom in the World report, one of the most credible sources of data on the subject.  This found that the state of democracy and human rights in the world has been declining for the last eighteen years in a row.  Whichever political party or parties come to power in the UK following the election on 4 July it is crucial that they all commit to maintaining and championing strong standards of democracy and human rights, both at home and abroad. 


The importance of democracy and human rights

The crucial importance of proper, transparent, human rights respecting democracy in the UK, and indeed in every country in the world, cannot be overstated.  A major report from Arise, the Arise Manifesto, looks in detail at what standards for democracy, human rights and good governance countries should have.  As Christians, we read in the Bible how God wants all governments, everywhere, to rule well, with justice, fairness, impartiality and integrity (Arise Manifesto, pg 79 – 85).  As Jeremiah the prophet said, “Hear the word of the LORD to you, king of Judah, you who sits on David’s throne – you, your officials and your people who come through these gates.  This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right.  Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed.  Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place” (Jer 2: 2 – 3).  In our modern world, democracy has been one of the most effective ways of making sure this Biblical principle is put into practice.  Democracies have a much better track record of governing well and effectively with justice, and good standards of human rights, civil liberties and basic freedoms than autocratic states do (Arise Manifesto, pg 102 – 108).


Reform Movements

Where dramatic improvements in democracy, good governance and human rights have occurred, they have overwhelmingly been driven by mass peaceful domestic reform movements.  This is another key conclusion from the Arise Manifesto report.  We see this in the lessons from the Bible (Arise Manifesto, pg 86 – 88), where prophets like Isaiah challenged the rulers of their day, “stop doing wrong.  Learn to do right; seek justice.  Defend the oppressed.  Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isa 1: 16 – 17).  We also see it when we look at the lessons from history (Arise Manifesto, pg 108 – 119).  In recent decades peaceful reform movements have had dramatic success in Serbia, Madagascar, Georgia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Nepal, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, East Germany, Slovenia, Mali, Bolivia, the Philippines, Zambia, South Korea, Chile, Argentina, Haiti, Brazil, Uruguay, Malawi, Thailand, Bulgaria, Hungary, Nigeria, and many other countries.  Of course such movements require great courage and perseverance from those involved.  They are not guaranteed to succeed every time.  But overwhelmingly the power of ordinary people peacefully refusing to submit is remarkable, and has continually proved the most successful way to improve democracy, human rights and good governance in nations around the world.


Christians at the heart of Reform Movements

Throughout history, Christians and churches have played a hugely important central role in such reform movements (Arise Manifesto, pg 283 – 303).  They have worked well alongside journalists, academics, activists, students, trade unions and others in the movement.  Supporting such bottom-up Reform Movements (and the Christians that are so often at the heart of them) is one of three key focus campaigns for Arise. 

This week will you take action as part of Arise’s Reform Movements campaign, to make sure all political parties uphold good standards of democracy and human rights at home and champion them around the world?


Take Action

Speak out in advocacy

Search online to find the candidates that are standing for election as MP in your constituency.  Contact them via social media or go along to one of their events and ask them whether they will …

  • Commit to upholding the highest standards of democracy, freedom and human rights in UK public life.
  • Commit to also supporting these standards internationally, including supporting Reform Movements that are struggling for them around the world. 

Share a link to Part 4 of the Arise Manifesto, which outlines key standards and how governments can help in both of these areas.  Have a quick look at Part 4 of the Arise Manifesto yourself to help you frame questions to them at an event.


Pray for the election, that there will be a good turnout.  Pray that people will vote for the party they feel most likely to work to establish social justice, ensure prosperity, eliminate poverty, care for all in society and restore the environment.  Pray that the government that comes in will uphold the highest standards of democracy, freedom and human rights in UK, and champion them around the world.

Practical Action

Get involved in the decision-making by joining a political party, and in due course running for office at local or even national level.  Use your position within that party to advocate for policies that establish social justice, eliminate poverty, restore the environment and build God’s Kingdom.


If you consider joining a political party, consider also giving to them.  Political parties need funding to support their campaigns.

Ethical Consumption

Try and avoid buying products and services from companies whose operations (inadvertently or not) are helping to prop up unjust and undemocratic regimes with poor human rights around the world.  Check out the Ethical Consumer website for guidance on this.


Encourage us and others by letting us know what actions you have taken – message us at info@ariseuk.org, or via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.


Find out more

It’s great to take this action as individual Christians, but even better to come together with others to pray, discuss, worship, learn, have fun and take action together.  Contact Arise if you are interested in joining or starting a local Arise group in your church or area

Find out more in the Arise Manifesto, Arise’s big picture, researched, Biblical, holistic and practical vision for a better world.  It looks at what the Bible says, and what we can learn from the best data and the world’s leading experts on the five major areas of evangelism, discipleship, social justice, development and the environment.  It then draws these lessons together into a practical road map for the changes we need to see in our world, which the Arise movement campaigns to achieve.

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