Compendium of International Standards for Elections

Compendium of International Standards for Elections

Elections provide examples of human rights in practice. Conducting a genuine, democratic electoral process is part of establishing and strengthening a system of government that can ensure respect for human rights, the rule of law and the development of democratic institutions.

The European Union has a long tradition of supporting human rights, democracy and the rule of law throughout the world, and these principles are enshrined in the basic EU treaties as fundamental values. In this context, election observation constitutes an important EU foreign policy and external assistance instrument.

This fifth edition of the Compendium has been developed as an online resource to allow it to be updated on an ongoing basis. The 10 chapters below provide an overview of international and regional standards for elections, an explanation of human rights protection systems and election-related jurisprudence, the key relevant texts per geographical area, information on standards by area of assessment and a list of relevant good practice documents. The Compendium is complemented by the database of international election-related case-law.

International and regional standards for democratic elections serve as the basis against which EU missions assess the conduct of elections and provide for the development of recommendations for how the process can be improved. The Compendium is primarily designed as a reference tool for analysts and observers in EU election missions. It may also be useful for other interested stakeholders and practitioners, including parliamentarians and lawmakers, election administrators, other international observer groups, citizen observers, candidates and parties, and implementers of technical assistance.