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Compendium of International Standards for Elections


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

In this respect, international standards for elections, established by universal and
regional treaties and political commitments, provide a basis for the assessment of
an election process. Such standards include political rights and fundamental freedoms as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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, the deployment of EU Election Observation Missions constitutes an important EU foreign policy and external assistance instrument.

This compendium aims to assist EU Election Observation Missions and other
interested stakeholders in clearly identifying the international standards to use in
assessing the conduct of elections. To facilitate such assessment, a practical guide has been included as an annex. It is the Commission’s expectation that EU Election Observation Missions will make use of this new tool to assess the conduct of elections in line with international standards and ensure coherence among EU Election Observation Missions.

European Commission, November 2007