Obligation

Freedom from Discrimination and Equality Before the Law

International treaties establish the right to equality before the law [1] while separately calling for freedom from discrimination in the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms.[2] Although the obligation is explicitly tied to the rights enshrined in Article 25 of the ICCPR, it is applicable to all the obligations in the covenant. International and regional treaties require that everyone be able to enjoy their rights, free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, property, sexual orientation or gender identity, physical or mental ability, birth, or other status at any time.[3] Treaty sources also state that although states may regulate the law concerning nationality, citizenship, or naturalization, they may not discriminate against any particular nationality in doing so.[4] Where linguistic minorities exist, those that belong to such minorities should not be denied the right to use their own language.[4]

Everyone has the right of equal access to any place or service intended for use by the public.[5] Interpretive sources state that the state is obligated to perform both its “negative duty” to refrain from discrimination and its “positive duty” to prevent discrimination; for example, by promulgating anti-discrimination legislation.[6]

Special Measures: International and regional treaties state that temporary special measures for advancing ethnic minorities or groups that have suffered past discrimination may be taken, when the circumstances warrant. These measures should not be maintained after the objectives for which they were taken are met and should not result in the maintenance of unequal rights for different groups.[7] In order to ensure equal opportunity for people belonging to minority groups, it is recommended that states collect disaggregated data.[8] International and regional treaties also state that measures may be taken to ensure the equal enjoyment of rights by people with disabilities.[9] Specific measures aimed at ensuring de facto equality for people with disabilities should not be considered discriminatory.[10]

Issues


Oversight of Boundary Delimitation

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Electoral System and Boundary Delimitation

The state took the steps necessary to give effect to rights regarding the boundary delimitation process and the electoral system through effective oversight mechanisms

  • Delimitation techniques designed to discount the votes of particular groups or geographic areas are prohibited. [?]
  • Boundary delimitation should not be manipulated to favor particular groups. [?]

Privacy and Voter Registration

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Voter Registration

The voter list did not include information beyond that necessary to identify a voter and establish his/her eligibility

  • Voter lists should not include information beyond what is required to identify a voter and establish a voter's eligibility. [?]

Freedom From Discrimination in the Legal Framework

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Legal Framework

Minorities were able to use their own language(s)

  • Where linguistic minorities exist, those that belong to such minorities should not be denied the right to use their own language. [?]

The legal framework for elections did not include provisions that discriminate on the basis of prohibited grounds

  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]
  • The state must perform both its "negative duty" to refrain from discrimination and its "positive duty" to prevent discrimination. [?]

The legal framework for elections included guarantees of equality before the law

  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]

The legal framework provided equal access to any place or service intended for use by the public

  • Everyone has the right of equal access to any place or service intended for public use. [?]

Special Measures

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Legal Framework
  • Voter Registration
  • Election Management
  • Voting Operations
  • Voter Education
  • Electoral System and Boundary Delimitation
  • Candidacy and Campaigning

The state took steps to ensure de facto equality between men and women

  • Where linguistic minorities exist, those that belong to such minorities should not be denied the right to use their own language. [?]
  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]
  • Discrimination means any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. [?]
  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]

Voter education materials were available in all official languages as well as minority languages

  • Information and materials about voting should be available in minority languages. [?]
  • Where linguistic minorities exist, those that belong to such minorities should not be denied the right to use their own language. [?]

Special measures were taken to ensure de facto equality for people with disabilities

  • Women and girls with disabilities are subject to multiple discrimination. [?]
  • Measures should be taken to ensure that persons with disabilities have adequate access to civil and voter education. [?]
  • Specific measures aimed at ensuring de facto equality for persons with disabilities should not be considered discriminatory. [?]
  • Distinctions made on the basis of disabilities are to be considered discrimination. [?]
  • Access to the media should be guaranteed to all political parties and candidates and be fairly distributed. [?]
  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]
  • Discrimination means any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. [?]

Special measures were taken, as necessary, to promote equality for minorities

  • Special measures for advancing ethnic minorities or groups that have suffered past discrimination should be taken when circumstances warrant, but should not be maintained after the objectives for which they were taken are met, and should not result in the maintenance of unequal rights for different groups. [?]
  • Discrimination means any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. [?]
  • Special measures for advancing ethnic minorities or groups that have suffered past discrimination may include quotas to ensure minority participation or representation. [?]
  • Some measures taken to ensure equitable representation of minority groups should not be considered discriminatory. [?]
  • Voter education should be accessible to all voters, including those with special needs. [?]
  • The state must perform both its "negative duty" to refrain from discrimination and its "positive duty" to prevent discrimination. [?]

Freedom From Discrimination in the Electoral System and Boundary Delimitation Process

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Electoral System and Boundary Delimitation

The electoral system did not discriminate against citizens on grounds prohibited by international law

  • The state must perform both its "negative duty" to refrain from discrimination and its "positive duty" to prevent discrimination. [?]
  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]
  • Discrimination means any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. [?]
  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]

Partisan and Nonpartisan Observation of Voting Operations

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Voting Operations

Observers were able to access places used for voting

  • Everyone has the right of equal access to any place or service intended for public use. [?]

Freedom From Discrimination and the Electoral Management Body

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Election Management

The electoral management body treated all citizens equally

  • Election management bodies should be impartial and should not discriminate in the performance of their public function. [?]
  • Discrimination means any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. [?]
  • Distinctions made on the basis of sexual orientation are to be considered discrimination. [?]
  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]
  • Distinctions made on the basis of disabilities are to be considered discrimination. [?]
  • The state must perform both its "negative duty" to refrain from discrimination and its "positive duty" to prevent discrimination. [?]
  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]

Freedom From Discrimination in the Voter Registration Process

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Voter Registration

Voter registration facilities were accessible to all

  • Everyone has the right of equal access to any place or service intended for public use. [?]

Eligibility requirements for voter registration were reasonable and objective and did not discriminate on the basis of prohibited grounds

  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]
  • Discrimination means any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. [?]
  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]
  • Specific measures aimed at ensuring de facto equality for persons with disabilities should not be considered discriminatory. [?]

Freedom From Discrimination in Voter Education

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Voter Education

All citizens received voter education regardless of their race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation or gender identity, property, birth, or other status

  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]
  • Measures should be taken to ensure that persons with disabilities have adequate access to civil and voter education. [?]
  • Voter education should facilitate the participation of illiterate voters. To this end, specific methods, such as the use of photographs and symbols, should be adopted. [?]
  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]
  • Voter education should be accessible to all voters, including those with special needs. [?]
  • The state must perform both its "negative duty" to refrain from discrimination and its "positive duty" to prevent discrimination. [?]

Locations used for voter education were accessible in a nondiscriminatory manner

  • Everyone has the right of equal access to any place or service intended for public use. [?]

Voter education materials facilitated voting by illiterate voters

  • Voter education should facilitate the participation of illiterate voters. To this end, specific methods, such as the use of photographs and symbols, should be adopted. [?]
  • Voter education should be accessible to all voters, including those with special needs. [?]

Equal Treatment of Candidates and Parties

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Candidacy and Campaigning

Regulations for candidacy and campaigning were not discriminatory

  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]
  • Discrimination means any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. [?]
  • Distinctions made on the basis of sexual orientation are to be considered discrimination. [?]
  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]
  • Distinctions made on the basis of disabilities are to be considered discrimination. [?]

No one suffered discrimination or disadvantage of any kind because of their candidacy

  • No one should suffer from discrimination or disadvantage of any kind because of his candidacy. [?]

Candidates and political parties were able to compete with each other on an equal basis

  • The state should enable new parties to compete under fair conditions with more established parties. [?]
  • Procedures for ballot access must be non-discriminatory. [?]
  • All political contestants should have an equal period of time in which to campaign. [?]
  • Political parties should be assured that they will be able to compete with each other on an equal basis before the law. [?]
  • Electoral legislation and its regulations should offer clear guidance with respect to the process by which parties and candidates were placed on the ballot. [?]

Establishment, Regulation of, and Membership in Political Parties

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Candidacy and Campaigning

Citizens were able to establish and participate in political parties and other associations

  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]

Political organizations were treated equally in being recognized and registering as a party

  • Regardless of their ideological position, political parties should be treated equally in being recognized and registering as a party. [?]
  • Political parties should be assured that they will be able to compete with each other on an equal basis before the law. [?]

Freedom From Discrimination and the Media

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

Political parties and candidates had access to the public media on a nondiscriminatory basis

  • Political parties and candidates must have access to the public media on a non-discriminatory basis. [?]
  • If offered, free airtime should be distributed equally. [?]
  • If private media accepts paid advertising, the costs and conditions for advertising should be equally applied to all candidates. [?]
  • Access to the media should be guaranteed to all political parties and candidates and be fairly distributed. [?]
  • Equality refers not only to the amount of space provided but to the timing and location of such space. [?]

News coverage of incumbents in the public media was not abused so that it constituted additional free airtime or print coverage

  • News coverage of incumbents in public media during electoral campaigns is permitted, but should not be abused, constituting additional free airtime or print coverage. [?]

The regulation of the media promoted equality and absence of discrimination

  • Distinctions made on the basis of sexual orientation are to be considered discrimination. [?]
  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]
  • Distinctions made on the basis of disabilities are to be considered discrimination. [?]
  • The state must perform both its "negative duty" to refrain from discrimination and its "positive duty" to prevent discrimination. [?]
  • Equality refers not only to the amount of space provided but to the timing and location of such space. [?]
  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]
  • Everyone has the right of equal access to any place or service intended for public use. [?]
  • Discrimination means any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. [?]

The media took steps to reach all segments of society, including those who speak minority languages or live in rural areas

  • Media outlets should take steps to provide access to marginalized groups. This may include the consideration of transmitting in minority languages and assuring broad coverage of rural areas. [?]

Freedom From Discrimination in Voting Operations

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Voting Operations

The voting process did not discriminate against anyone on the basis of prohibited grounds

  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]
  • Discrimination means any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. [?]
  • Distinctions made on the basis of sexual orientation are to be considered discrimination. [?]
  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]
  • Distinctions made on the basis of disabilities are to be considered discrimination. [?]
  • Voter identification and related procedures should not discriminate on the basis of the enumerated grounds. [?]

Freedom from Discrimination and Electoral Dispute Resolution

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Electoral System and Boundary Delimitation
  • Electoral Dispute Resolution

The electoral system did not discriminate against citizens on grounds prohibited by international law

  • Redistricting should not discriminate against any citizen on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, or gender identity, disability, or other status. [?]

Everyone was treated equally before the law and courts

  • Procedures for the filing and adjudication of disputes must be understandable and easily accessible to all parties. [?]
  • The guarantee to equality before the courts extends to judicial bodies entrusted with any judicial task (including customary and religious courts). [?]
  • Equality before the courts includes equality in arms and equal access to the courts. [?]
  • Fees that de facto prevent access to the courts may violate the obligation of equal access to the courts. [?]

The electoral dispute resolution process did not discriminate on the basis of prohibited grounds

  • The state must perform both its "negative duty" to refrain from discrimination and its "positive duty" to prevent discrimination. [?]
  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]
  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]

The Right to Vote, and Voting Operations

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Voting Operations

Poll workers were adequately trained in the determination of eligible voters

  • Voter identification and related procedures should not discriminate on the basis of the enumerated grounds. [?]

The right to vote was guaranteed by law and was subject only to reasonable and objective restrictions

  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on literacy. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on political opinion, affiliation (past or present), or membership in a political party. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on homelessness. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on economic circumstances. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on a registration fee. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on property ownership. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on naturalized citizenship. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on status as an internally displaced person. [?]

Independence and Impartiality of the Electoral Management Body

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Election Management

The electoral management body acted impartially in the administration of the election

  • Election management bodies should be impartial and should not discriminate in the performance of their public function. [?]

There was an independent and impartial electoral management body

  • Everyone should have access, free from discrimination, to the public service of the country. [?]

Recruitment of Electoral Management Body Staff

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Election Management

The recruitment and appointment of electoral management body staff were transparent, efficient, and equitable and instilled public confidence in the body

  • Everyone has the right of equal access to any place or service intended for public use. [?]
  • Everyone should have access, free from discrimination, to the public service of the country. [?]

Equal Access to Public Places

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Candidacy and Campaigning

Public places were accessible to all in a nondiscriminatory fashion

  • Everyone has the right of equal access to any place or service intended for public use. [?]
  • Political associations should have equal opportunity to access public facilities. [?]

Partisan and Nonpartisan Observation of Vote Counting and Tabulation

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Vote Counting and Tabulation

Observers were able to access places used for vote counting and tabulation

  • Everyone has the right of equal access to any place or service intended for public use. [?]

Polling Places Accessible to Voters with Disabilities

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Voting Operations

Polling places were accessible

  • Everyone has the right of equal access to any place or service intended for public use. [?]
  • Access to the media should be guaranteed to all political parties and candidates and be fairly distributed. [?]

Citizenship

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Legal Framework
  • Voter Registration
  • Voting Operations

The rules regarding citizenship were clear and nondiscriminatory

  • States may regulate the law concerning nationality, citizenship, or naturalization, but may not discriminate against any particular nationality in doing so. [?]

Voter Registration in Minority Languages

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Voter Registration

Linguistic minorities were able to use their own language

  • Where linguistic minorities exist, those that belong to such minorities should not be denied the right to use their own language. [?]

Independent Candidacy

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Candidacy and Campaigning

Regulations regarding candidacy were the same for the independent and partisan actors

  • Regulations regarding candidacy should be the same for independent and partisan actors. [?]
  • With respect to candidates for office, there should be no restrictions on candidates for reasons such as political opinion or affiliation (past and present). [?]
  • No one should suffer from discrimination or disadvantage of any kind because of his candidacy. [?]

Candidature

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Candidacy and Campaigning

Every citizen had the right to be elected, subject only to reasonable restrictions

  • With respect to candidates for office, there should be no restrictions on candidates for reasons such as physical disability. [?]
  • With respect to candidates for office, there should be no restrictions on candidates for reasons such as religion. [?]
  • With respect to candidates for office, there should be no restrictions on candidates for reasons such as ethnic origin. [?]
  • With respect to candidates for office, there should be no restrictions on candidates for reasons such as language. [?]
  • With respect to candidates for office, there should be no restrictions on candidates for reasons such as education. [?]
  • With respect to candidates for office, there should be no restrictions on candidates for reasons such as economic status. [?]
  • With respect to candidates for office, there should be no restrictions on candidates for reasons such as race. [?]
  • With respect to candidates for office, there should be no restrictions on candidates for reasons such as requirement of party membership or nomination. [?]
  • With respect to candidates for office, there should be no restrictions on candidates for reasons such as sexual orientation. [?]
  • With respect to candidates for office, there should be no restrictions on candidates for reasons such as political opinion or affiliation (past and present). [?]

Pluralistic and Balanced Media

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

A pluralistic media promoted citizen access to information, and the media was free to play an impartial and objective role in covering electoral issues

  • Public service media should ensure the public receive adequate and politically balanced information during election periods. [?]

Free Airtime and Paid Advertising

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

Free airtime was distributed equally (amount of space and also the timing and location of the media space)

  • Equality refers not only to the amount of space provided but to the timing and location of such space. [?]
  • If offered, free airtime should be distributed equally. [?]

Paid advertising on public media was identified as such, and the costs and conditions involved were reasonable and equally applied to all candidates and parties

  • If private media accepts paid advertising, the costs and conditions for advertising should be equally applied to all candidates. [?]
  • Paid advertising in the public media should be identified as such, and the costs and conditions involved should be reasonable and equally applied to all candidates and parties. [?]

Sources

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