Democratic values must be instilled from childhood: Minister

Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) - Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi has said democratic values such as tolerance and mutual respect must be instilled from childhood.

Speaking in the 2nd Bali Democracy Students Conference (BDSC) in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Wednesday night, Retno explained that the democratic values must be adopted by the younger generation to prevent conflict or war.

"The younger generation must be able to respect differences and tolerance to create a better world for their children and granchildren later," Retno said before some 138 participants of the conference from 57 countries.

According to the foreign affairs minister, democracy must be fought for and taken care of seriously.

She said democracy also cannot be separated from difficult challenges, along with increasing populism, narrow nationalism, xenophobia, and anti-pluralism even in countries with mature democracy.

"This will have an impact on the destruction of our tolerance and social harmony. Therefore, it has become our collective duty to ensure that democracy continues to develop in an inclusive manner, and it can be felt by all levels of society," the minister said.

Further, she added that the role of the younger generation in the development of democracy is important, because they are agents of change and peace.

Applying democratic values and a culture of dialogue will alienate the younger generation from conflict, which according to Retno, will be difficult to end when it has happened.

"For example, the conflict in Afghanistan which has been going on for 40 years is very difficult to end even though Indonesia is working hard to help Afghans to live peacefully," Retno said.

Parwiz Mosamim, an Afghan student participating in Bali Democracy Students Conference, agreed that democracy must be built on mutual respect and understanding.

Unfortunately, he said that in Afghanistan which faces prolonged conflict, democracy is only welcomed as a new phenomenon without its people truly understanding how to apply democratic values.

"If a country is not democratic, it will not develop because there is always conflict," said Mosamim, a 24-year-old youth from Afghanistan.

Source: ANTARA News

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