By Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis

WASHINGTON, March 27 (Reuters) – World leaders will gather virtually this week for the second U.S.-organized Summit for Democracy, an event critics say illustrates the halting progress the Biden administration has made in advancing human rights and democracy as a focus of its foreign policy.

Starting Wednesday, the event involves 120 countries, civil society groups and technology companies and will include strategically important nations where rights groups have expressed concerns about the state of democracy, such as India, Poland and Israel.

Rights advocates have praised the administration for putting a spotlight on democracy, but say there is little evidence the countries joining the summit have made progress on improving their democracies, and that there is no formal mechanism to hold participants to the modest commitments made at the first meeting.