International election standards are a set of principles and implementation guidelines for elections which have basis in the public international human rights law instruments.  Sources of these standards are international (universal and regional) treaties, international customary law, political commitments, and internationally agreed principles of good practice adopted by governmental and non-governmental organisations. 
International treaty standards are agreements made by states voluntarily. Treaty monitoring body is responsible for monitoring the compliance of these standards. The most important treaty in setting the fundamental standards in elections is considered to be the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The Council of Europe (CoE) is an international organisation whose stated aim is to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. Founded in 1949, it has 47 member states, with a population of approximately 820 million, and operates with an annual budget of approximately 500 million euros.
Human rights are moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected as natural and legal rights in municipal and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable, fundamental rights "to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being" and which are "inherent in all human beings", regardless of their age, ethnic origin, location, language, religion, ethnicity, or any other status. They are applicable everywhere and at every time in the sense of being universal, and they are egalitarian in the sense of being the same for everyone. They are regarded as requiring empathy and the rule of law and imposing an obligation on persons to respect the human rights of others, and it is generally considered that they should not be taken away except as a result of due process based on specific circumstances; for example, human rights may include freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, promotion of human rights, freedom of the press, and fair elections. It employs around 3,460 people, mostly in its field operations but also in its secretariat in Vienna, Austria, and its institutions. It has its origins in the 1975 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) held in Helsinki, Finland.
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a regional intergovernmental organization of nine members, plus two founding non-member, post-Soviet republics in Eurasia. It was formed following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. It covers an area of 20,368,759 km² and has an estimated population of 239,796,010. The CIS encourages cooperation in economic, political and military affairs and has certain powers relating to the coordination of trade, finance, lawmaking, and security. It has also promoted cooperation on cross-border crime prevention.
Judicial independence is the concept that the judiciary should be independent from the other branches of government or the politician in office. That is, courts should not be subject to improper influence from the other branches of government or from private or partisan interests. Judicial independence is important to the idea of separation of powers.
The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany.
International human rights law (IHRL) is the body of international law designed to promote human rights on social, regional, and domestic levels. As a form of international law, international human rights law are primarily made up of treaties, agreements between sovereign states intended to have binding legal effect between the parties that have agreed to them; and customary international law. Other international human rights instruments, while not legally binding, contribute to the implementation, understanding and development of international human rights law and have been recognized as a source of political obligation.
The Carter Center is a nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. He and his wife Rosalynn Carter partnered with Emory University just after his defeat in the 1980 U.S. Presidential elections. The center is located in a shared building adjacent to the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum on 37 acres (150,000 m2) of parkland, on the site of the razed neighborhood of Copenhill, two miles (3 km) from downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The library and museum are owned and operated by the United States National Archives and Records Administration, while the Center is governed by a Board of Trustees, consisting of business leaders, educators, former government officials, and philanthropists.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFR) enshrines certain political, social, and economic rights for European Union (EU) citizens and residents into EU law. It was drafted by the European Convention and solemnly proclaimed on 7 December 2000 by the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission. However, its then legal status was uncertain and it did not have full legal effect until the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009.
Center for Democracy & Technology(CDT) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen individual rights and freedoms by defining, promoting, and influencing technology policy and the architecture of the Internet.
Election monitoring is the observation of an election by one or more independent parties, typically from another country or a non-governmental organization (NGO), primarily to assess the conduct of an election process on the basis of national legislation and international election standards. There are national and international election observers. Monitors do not directly prevent electoral fraud, but rather record and report such instances. Election observation increasingly looks at the entire electoral process over a longer period of time, rather than at election-day proceedings only. The legitimacy of an election can be affected by the criticism of monitors, provided that they are themselves seen as unbiased. A notable individual is often appointed honorary leader of a monitoring organization in an effort to enhance its own legitimacy.
According to the U.S. Department of State's human rights report for 2004 and similar sources, the Ethiopian government's human rights "remained poor; although there were improvements, serious problems remained". The report listed numerous cases where police and security forces are said to have harassed, illegally detained, tortured, and/or killed individuals, who were members of opposition groups or accused of being insurgents. Thousands of suspects remained in detention without charge, and lengthy pretrial detention continued to be a problem. Prison conditions were poor. The government often ignores citizens' privacy rights and laws regarding search warrants. Freedom House agrees; the site gave Ethiopia a six out of seven, which means that it is not free. Although fewer journalists have been arrested, detained, or punished in 2004 than in previous years, the government nevertheless continues to restrict freedom of the press. The government limits freedom of assembly, particularly for members of opposition groups, and security forces have used excessive force to break up demonstrations. Violence and discrimination against women continue to be problems. Female genital mutilation is widespread, although efforts to curb the practice have had some effect. The economic and sexual exploitation of children continues, as does human trafficking. Forced labor, particularly among children, is a persistent problem. Low-level government interference with labor unions continues. Although the government generally respected the free exercise of religion, local authorities at times interfere with religious practice. In order to improve Ethiopia's image, they hired US agencies to improve Ethiopia's image for $2.5 million. According to report of amnesty international 2016/2017 prolonged protests over political, economic, social and cultural grievances were met with excessive and lethal force by police. The report added that the crackdown on the political opposition saw mass arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment, unfair trials and violations of the rights to freedom of expression and association. On 9 October, the government announced a state of emergency, which led to further human rights violations. In September 2018, more than 20 have died in ethnic based attacks. Protestors outside the capital have been calling for the prime minister to issue a state of emergency to prevent further killings.
The U.S. Department of State's Country Report on Human Rights Practices for São Tomé and Príncipe states that the government generally respects the human rights of its citizens, despite problems in a few areas.
The Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the highest law of Kazakhstan, as stated in Article 4. The Constitution was approved by referendum on 30 August 1995. This date has since been adopted as the "Constitution Day of the Republic of Kazakhstan".
The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is a non-governmental organization with the dual goals of preventing Internet censorship by authoritarian governments and protecting the Internet privacy rights of individuals. It is sponsored by a coalition of multinational corporations, non-profit organizations, and universities.
The Human Rights First Society is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation which seeks to promote human rights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is one of the few independent groups in Saudi Arabia monitoring human rights, along with the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, the Society for Development and Change and the Association for the Protection and Defense of Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia. The HRFS was initiated as an organisation dedicated to protecting and defending human rights in Saudi Arabia according to Islamic teachings. The HRFS stands for applying the rule of law, freedoms of expression and association, and abolishing all discrimination in Saudi society on the basis of gender or religious beliefs.
Human Rights Impact Assessment is a process for systematically identifying, predicting and responding to the potential human rights impacts of a business operation, capital project, government policy, or trade agreement. It is designed to complement a company or government’s other impact assessment and due diligence processes and to be framed by appropriate international human rights principles and conventions. It is also rooted in the realities of the particular project by incorporating the context within which it will operate from the outset, and by engaging directly with those peoples whose rights may be at risk.
Electoral integrity refers to international standards and global norms governing the appropriate conduct of elections.
African Union law is the body of law comprising treaties, resolutions and decisions that have direct and indirect application to the member States of the African Union (AU). Similar to European Union law, AU law regulates the behavior of countries party to the regional body.
Eric Bjornlund is an American expert in democratization assistance and election observation and co-founder and president of Democracy International and the author of Beyond Free and Fair: Monitoring Elections and Building Democracy. Mr. Bjornlund is a lawyer and adjunct professor at Georgetown University.
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