In this public panel commemorating the International Day of Democracy, The Carter Center and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights illustrated how promoting human rights throughout the electoral cycle can safeguard elections and how greater cooperation between the human rights and elections communities can ultimately strengthen democracy.
This Roundtable conversation took place on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, and included panelists:
- Roberto Desogus, Deputy Head, Regional Office for Central America and the Dominican Republic, United Nations Human Rights
- Meaghan Fitzgerald, Head of Elections, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
- Leah Mitaba, Executive Director, Zambia Council for Social Development
- Anne Okutoyi, Director, Research, Advocacy and Outreach, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
- David Carroll, Democracy Program Director, The Carter Center (Moderator)
Democratic elections expressing the free will of the people are essential to securing the legitimate authority of governments and the promotion and protection of human rights.
States around the world regularly hold elections and are obligated under international law, including through the ratification of key human rights treaties, to respect and protect a core set of human rights and fundamental freedoms critical for democratic elections. This includes the right to participate in public affairs as well as a range of rights whose respect guarantees a safe and enabling environment for elections to take place in.
Yet in 2021 we see the continued deterioration of democracy, a global trust deficit that is undermining institutions and democratic processes, including elections, and curtailment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In this context, how can the human rights and elections communities work together to protect human rights and safeguard genuine elections?
During this online, public panel commemorating the International Day of Democracy, The Carter Center and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will illustrate how promoting human rights throughout the electoral cycle can safeguard elections, and how greater cooperation between the human rights and elections communities can ultimately, strengthen democracy. Panelists will draw on their experiences from different regions of the world to highlight lessons learned about the potential for rights-based approaches to election support.