Human Rights and Election Standards Conference – December 4-5, 2017

The Carter Center, Atlanta, GA

Art. 21 of the UDHR highlights the role of elections in ensuring that citizens are able to participate in the public affairs of their country.  This obligation is reiterated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and is elaborated on in other international and regional treaties. Election observation organizations and assistance providers are increasingly referring to international human rights law in their work.  At the same time, international human rights mechanisms are considering election related issues in their work. However, the two communities of experts and practitioners had not come together to find ways to collaborate and cooperate on common goal.

Since 2015, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and The Carter Center have been collaborating on a series of workshops that have convened members of the election observation and assistance and human rights communities.  The initiative builds on the past decade of Carter Center work to develop stronger links between human rights standards and obligations for democratic elections, and also amplifies the OHCHR’s persistent efforts to advance the right to participate in public affairs and other rights associated with electoral processes.

The overarching goal of the workshop series has been to invite reflection on the elements of a human rights-based approach to elections and advance strategies for collaboration between HR experts and electoral practitioners at the national, regional, and international levels.   During meetings in 2016 and 2017, special procedures mandate holders, members of treaty bodies and States that have given or received recommendations on elections in the UPR process, together with election observation and assistance providers developed recommendations for how the two communities could better cooperate in the future.


December 2017 Conference:  The final conference of the series will take place at The Carter Center in Atlanta, GA on Dec. 4-5, 2017.  The goal of the conference is to finalize a Human Rights and Elections Plan of Action, that will elaborate on the many useful recommendations developed during the previous workshops and identify key ways in which the cooperation fostered thus far can be continued.

The final conference will take place over one and a half days.  The first day of the workshop will be a technical working meeting, focused on the review and refinement of the draft Plan of Action.  The second day of the meeting will focus on agreement and endorsement of the draft by meeting participants.

The participants in this final conference will be those who have been invited to or have attended previous workshops in the series, or who currently have mandates relevant to elections and human rights.


Conference Information (links below will be updated as information becomes available):