IACHR Issues Resolution About Election Monitors As Human Rights Defenders

May 23, 2024

Resolution 01/2024

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 01/2024, recognizing national and international election monitors as human rights defenders based on the intrinsic connection between respecting and protecting human rights and defending democracy.

The Commission highlights the important role of election monitors for the defense of democracy and the rule of law. Through their activities, electoral observers stand up for civil and political rights including the rights to freedom of association, assembly, expression, access to information, equality before the law, and non-discrimination, as well as for the rights to a fair trial and to judicial protection.

The activities of election monitors help to protect the rights held in Article XX of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and in Article 23 of the American Convention on Human Rights, both of which mention the right to vote and to be elected by universal suffrage in periodic elections.

In the case of national observers, election monitoring is a form of political participation and a way of exercising political rights by looking after, defending, and fostering the principles that should prevail in election processes, including transparency, certainty, legality, fairness, and universal suffrage by secret ballot among a plurality of political options.

The actions of electoral observers ultimately seek to ensure the integrity of election processes and therefore to preserve expressions of citizens' sovereign will, which is one of the main tenets of representative democracy according to inter-American and international instruments for the protection of human rights.

In its resolution, the Commission acknowledges the importance of electoral observation missions. The IACHR calls on States to enable suitable conditions for independent and impartial election monitoring and to ensure that election monitors can do their work freely, without retaliation of any kind, and enjoy protection from any risks they may face as a result of their efforts.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 112/24

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