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23.11.2017 10:20

International Obligations for Elections: Genuine Elections that Reflect the Free Expression of the Will of the People

International Obligations for Elections:

Genuine Elections that Reflect the Free Expression of the Will of the People

 

These obligations may be summarised in twenty points, which can be grouped into five categories:

1. Obligations relating to the Electoral Process itself

  • Right and Opportunity to Participate in Public Affairs
  • Right and Opportunity to Vote
  • Right and Opportunity to be Elected
  • Universal Suffrage
  • Equal Suffrage
  • Secret Ballot
  • Periodic Elections

2. Obligations relating to Rights and Freedoms which do not relate solely to the  Electoral Process

  • Freedom of Association
  • Freedom of Assembly
  • Freedom of Movement
  • Freedom of Opinion and Expression

3. Judicial Obligations

  • Rule of Law
  • Transparency and Access to Information
  • Prevention of Corruption
  • Right to Security of the Person

4. Obligations of Equality

  • Freedom from Discrimination and Equality before the Law
  • Equality between Men and Women

5. Obligations to Implement Rights and Deliver Redress

  • Right to a Fair and Public Hearing
  • Right to an Effective Remedy
  • States must take Necessary Steps to Give Effect to Rights

 

Acceptance by sovereign states of international obligations for elections arises from their adherence to treaties (also entitled conventions or covenants): the obligations are then derived under public international law.  Agreements between sovereign states formalised through treaties bind and can be enforced against states that are a party to them.  The effect of treaties and the procedures for their interpretation are defined by the Vienna Convention. 

 

There are several UN treaties under which Belarus has commitments:

 

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Signed and ratified by USSR and entered into force 1976.  Carried over by Belarus as a successor republic to the USSR, including signature of First Optional Protocol giving an individual right of action to citizens.

 

Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

Signed by USSR and ratified 1981.  Carried over by Belarus as a successor republic to the USSR.

 

UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)

Signed by Belarus and ratified 2005.

 

International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)

Signed by USSR and ratified 1981.  Carried over by Belarus as a successor republic to the USSR.  This commitment does not include accession to Article 14 giving an individual right of action to citizens

 

In addition, regional level treaties under which Belarus has assumed commitments include:

 

Commonwealth of Independent States Convention on Human Rights

Signed by Belarus 1995

 

OSCE Copenhagen Document

Signed by USSR 1990.  Carried over by Belarus as a successor republic to the USSR.

 

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