Training Manual on Human Rights Monitoring

By Office Of The High Commissioner For Human Rights | Go to book overview

Chapter XIV
ELECTION
OBSERVATION

Key concepts

The right of everyone to participate in his or her Government through free and fair
elections is a fundamental human right to be enjoyed without discrimination.

Free and fair elections require respect for the right to freedom of expression and opinion,
peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of movement and other rights.

Human rights officers serving as election observers should:

be sufficiently numerous to ensure presence at enough polling places and events;
have a reputation for independence, impartiality, objectivity, language skills and experience in electoral administration;
be present from the beginning of the electoral process;
arrange meetings (prior and subsequent to the election) with Government officials, party leaders, candidates, NGOs, and others to know whether their rights have been respected and whether they have concerns about the election process;
examine the laws and infrastructure;
be afforded free movement and access;
monitor the pre-election preparations and campaign period, any registration process, any civic education, the media, the vote, the count, the results and follow-up.

A. Introduction1

1. There are at least four ways the UN has been involved in elections. First, the UN has organized and conducted elections in such countries as Namibia. In this situation, the UN organizes virtually every aspect of the electoral process. Second, the UN has supervised elections by selecting a Special Representative of the Secretary-General to certify the validity of certain

1The material in this part is based principally on United Nations Centre for Human Rights, Human
Rights and Elections — A Handbook on the Legal, Technical and Human Rights Aspects of Elections, Professional
Training Series No. 2, UN Doc. HR/P/PT/2 (1994).

-297-

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