Supervision Human Rights in Elections


Proof for the internal corrosion with democratic systems can be found worldwide, be that in functioning democracies, failing ones, or even governments that just assume the label of “democracy” without complying to fundamental democratic principles in the first place. Many times, one can observe the abuse of structures by anti-democratic forces from within in order to gain or keep power and silence potential opposition. Whenever governing systems are undermined or kept alive that way, the protection of human rights is at stake. For this proposal, two considerations need to be made preemptively:

Firstly, democracy is a very relative term. Not only is it a concept without a set definition (which could be argued as inherently obsolete), but it can also be interpreted, applied and claimed in very different ways. Therefore, this proposal focuses on the enforcement of the international law of human rights. Human rights are also a subject to interpretation, but they cannot be up to relativisation at their core. Democracy is the only currently existing concept of government that has the capacity to truly adopt human rights. In conclusion, the more a system is bound to human rights, the more likely it is to be democratic. Consequently, enforcing human rights strengthens democratic performance.

The second consideration concerns possibilities of external influence on individual state regulations, particularly when trying to push a country towards a certain way of government. Those need to be looked at with a lot of precaution regarding the possibility of cultural and moral arrogance when imposing one’s own system as the “right”, therefore superior one. Besides, in the current global network the state is (in most cases) the highest entity when it comes to binding legislation. Countries are responsible for their inner structuring, and any outside influence is considerably a violation of sovereignty. This always needs to be taken into account.


We propose the implementation of a 5th entity within the Human Rights Council. The existing four entities are the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Special Procedures, the Advisory Committee and the Complaint Procedure. They regularly assess the human rights situations of all United Nations Member States, speak out on themes such as education, health, free speech, and human trafficking, as well as on country specific situations and provide expertise and advice on thematic human rights issues.

Our 5th entity should be a Supervising Procedure to complement the already existing structures and benefit from the framework and legitimacy the HRC holds within the UN. The committee shall be triggered by any national elections happening in the world. Inspired by the mechanism of supervision of elections by the OSCE, it has the assignment to check electoral campaigns of all parties running for parliament. The question to be answered is: Does the content of these campaigns align with the international law of human rights?

The findings of the Supervising Procedure will be made public through a report. As a symbolic sanction, the committee is to “flag” any manifest violation of the international law of human rights.


First and foremost, the aim is to create public and international awareness for intentional anti-human rights policy making. Parties that actively advocate for non-aligned legislations will have to defend and explain themselves publicly. At the same time, destructive forces will not be able to undermine systems unseen.

It would be up to the respective countries and their jurisdiction to decide on further proceedings after parties have been “flagged”. As already mentioned, there can be no outside censoring or even banning of political activity within a country. However, once brought to the public, there will be a certain “peer pressure” to perform better and maybe motivate flagged parties to modify their campaigns in order to align with human rights. It is particularly important that the proposal is bound to these instead of the debatable term of democracy, as every government or leading force that is supposed to protect its citizens will struggle to keep integrity whilst not ensuring human rights.

As a short term result, questionable party manifestos will become a topic of public discourse. In International Relations, the status of a country’s political players can be an indicator for other governments on how to judge its credibility. In the long run, this would ideally lead to less parties running for parliament that try to corrode the system from within and therefore better performing democracies. Additionally, it could ensure a more thorough respect for human rights worldwide, which is the overarching goal.

Needless to say that interfering with political processes in general raises the concern of a certain censoring of the freedom of speech. However, with this proposal tied to the protection of human rights at their core, it is not only acceptable, but needed to create awareness for grave human rights violations.