Biden to host global democracy summit

President BidenJoe BidenFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Romney tests positive for coronavirus Pelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better MORE this week will host the first-ever Summit for Democracy, which will focus on strengthening democracy, defending against authoritarianism, fighting corruption and promoting human rights.

Biden will deliver the summit’s opening remarks on Thursday and closing remarks on Friday. The virtual gathering is expected to include more than 100 participants from governments, civil society and the private sector.

Senior administration officials said the summit will put strengthening democracy “on the front burner in terms of the global conversation.” 

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The U.S. government is going to make new announcements related to electoral integrity and better use of export controls to ensure that technologies are not used to violate human rights, the officials said.

The president is expected to speak about the challenges related to voting rights within the U.S. and the “assault that folks, in particular Republican legislators, have been engaged in across the country,” according to an official. 

The summit will launch a year of action, during which the U.S. intends to work with participating governments and nongovernmental actors to develop new pledges and initiatives that can be announced at a second Summit for Democracy next year. 

Taiwan is participating in the gathering, while China has condemned the U.S. for extending the invitation to Taiwan and has criticized the summit overall. Neither China nor Russia were invited.

“Taiwan [will] make meaningful commitments toward the summit's objectives of countering authoritarianism, fighting against corruption, and advancing respect for human rights at home and abroad and so … that's Taiwan's role,” an official said. 

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While the officials would not say if any specific countries will be brought up, when asked about the migrant crisis in Belarus, they said there will be discussions on bolstering democratic resilience, empowering human rights defenders and the role of independent media and activism.

“Our intention with this summit is to provide leaders a forum to engage, listen and speak honestly about the challenges and opportunities facing democratic governments and about how democracies can deliver for their citizens,” the official said, adding the summit is about more than any one government. 

During the summit, the U.S. government will announce new initiatives and commitments in areas like bolstering free and independent media fighting corruption, defending free and fair elections, strengthening democratic reformers and harnessing technology for democratic renewal. 

The Biden administration on Monday, ahead of the summit, released the first-ever United States Strategy on Countering Corruption, which focuses on preventing bad actors using the U.S. and international financial systems to hide assets and launder money.