Necessary steps to give effect to human rights include a requirement to prevent, punish, investigate, or redress violations of human rights by non-state actors.
- Racism, Zionism, occupation and foreign control constitute a challenge to human dignity and are a fundamental obstacle to the human rights of peoples. It is a duty to condemn all such practices and to work towards their abolishment.
- The State party must ensure that the rights guaranteed in article 12 are protected not only from public but also from private interference. In the case of women, this obligation to protect is particularly pertinent. For example, it is incompatible with article 12, paragraph 1, that the right of a woman to move freely and to choose her residence be made subject, by law or practice, to the decision of another person, including a relative.
- States parties are under an obligation to take all appropriate measures, including the enactment of appropriate legislation that complies with their Constitution, to ensure that organizations such as political parties and trade unions, which may not be subject directly to obligations under the Convention, do not discriminate against women and respect the principles contained in articles 7 and 8.
- [T]he positive obligations on States Parties to ensure Covenant rights will only be fully discharged if individuals are protected by the State, not just against violations of Covenant rights by its agents, but also against acts committed by private persons or entities that would impair the enjoyment of Covenant rights in so far as they are amenable to application between private persons and entities. There may be circumstances in which a failure to ensure Covenant rights as required by article 2 would give rise to violations by States Parties of those rights, as a result of States Parties' permitting or failing to take appropriate measures or to exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate or redress the harm caused by such acts by private persons or entities.
- States should review their legislation and practices and take the lead in implementing all measures necessary in order to eliminate discrimination against women, in all fields, for example by prohibiting discrimination by private actors in areas such as employment, education, political activities and the provision of accommodation, goods and services. States parties should report on all these measures and provide information on the remedies available to victims of such discrimination.
- There are prompt and effective investigations of threats and crimes against journalists and new media actors. There is no climate of impunity.
- The Council of Europe has identified two types of cyberthreats to elections. First, threats to electoral democracy, namely “attacks against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of election computers and data”, compromising voter databases or registration systems; tampering with voting machines to manipulate results; interference with the function of systems on election day; and illegal access to computers to steal, modify, disseminate sensitive data. Second, threats to deliberative democracy, i.e. “information operations with violations of rules to ensure free, fair and clean elections” related to data protection, political finances, media coverage of electoral campaigns and broadcasting and political advertising.
- Concerning international cooperation, as already stressed under the preceding principle it is necessary to create mechanisms to make the exchange of information and the investigation, prosecution and sanction of illegal conducts related to the subject of democracy and new technologies more efficient.
- States have a positive obligation to promote the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. This requires States not merely to refrain from interfering with assemblies, but also to take positive steps to enable individuals to express their views, including through protecting assemblies from attacks by third parties and by otherwise facilitating the ability for the right to freedom of assembly to be exercised.
- Sanctions must be imposed in the case of breaches of duty of neutrality and voters' freedom to form an opinion.
- In order to ensure that the rules relating to voters’ freedom to form an opinion are effective, any violation of the foregoing rules must be punished.
- Insurgent threats, intimidation and violence towards potential voters can result in significant reductions in voter turnout, with grave negative effects on election legitimacy and on the development of democratic processes. In countries or areas where insurgents have called for boycotts and threatened violence against voters, more attention should be devoted to considering how voters can vote while minimizing retaliation. Voting practices that, for example, result in voters having semi-permanent marks on their bodies (e.g., ink stained fingers) allow insurgents to identify voters for punishment, and may be inappropriate in some contexts.
- Both before and during the election cycle, governments should make concerted efforts to dismantle private armed groups and prosecute those responsible for participating in or forming them. State forces should also protect citizens from armed groups.
- During electoral campaigns, a competent impartial electoral management body (EMB) or judicial body should be empowered to require private companies to remove clearly defined third-party content from the internet, based on electoral laws and in line with international standards.