United Nations

A/RES/46/137


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

17 December 1991

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



                                                      A/RES/46/137
                                                      75th plenary meeting
                                                      17 December 1991
 
             Enhancing the effectiveness of the principle
               of periodic and genuine elections
 
      The General Assembly,
 
      Recalling its resolutions 44/146 of 15 December 1989 and 45/150 of 18
December 1990, as well as Commission on Human Rights resolution 1989/51 of 7
March 1989,
 
      Having considered the report of the Secretary-General,
 
      Aware of its obligations under the Charter of the United Nations to
develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of
equal rights and self-determination of peoples and to promote and encourage
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all,
 
      Reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides
that everyone has the right to take part in the government of his or her
country, directly or through freely chosen representatives, that everyone has
the right of equal access to public service in his or her country, that the
will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government and that
this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be
by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by
equivalent free voting procedures,
 
      Noting that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
provides that every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without
distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion,
political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or
other status, to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or
through freely chosen representatives, to vote and to be elected at genuine
periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be
held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the
electors, and to have access, on general terms of equality, to public service
in his or her country,
 
      Condemning the system of apartheid and any other denial or abridgement
of the right to vote on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion,
political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or
other status,
 
      Recalling that, under the Charter, all States enjoy sovereign equality
and that each State, in accordance with the will of its people, has the right
freely to choose and develop its political, social, economic and cultural
systems, 
 
      Recognizing that there is no single political system or electoral method
that is equally suited to all nations and their people and that the efforts of
the international community to enhance the effectiveness of the principle of
periodic and genuine elections should not call into question each State's
sovereign right, in accordance with the will of its people, freely to choose
and develop its political, social, economic and cultural systems, whether or
not they conform to the preferences of other States,
 
      Noting with appreciation the advisory services and technical assistance
provided by the Centre for Human Rights of the Secretariat as well as the
technical assistance provided by the Department of Technical Cooperation for
Development of the Secretariat and the United Nations Development Programme to
some Member States, including those in transition to democracy, at their
request, and inviting those bodies to continue and intensify these efforts as
requested,
 
      Noting the electoral assistance provided to Member States at their
request by the Organization,
 
      Affirming that electoral verification by the United Nations should
remain an exceptional activity of the Organization to be undertaken in well-
defined circumstances, primarily in situations with a clear international
dimension,
 
      Taking note of the criteria contained in paragraph 79 of the report of
the Secretary-General which ought to be met before the Organization agrees
to requests for electoral verification,
 
      1.    Takes note with appreciation of the report of the Secretary-
General; 
 
      2.    Underscores the significance of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which
establish that the authority to govern shall be based on the will of the
people, as expressed in periodic and genuine elections;
 
      3.    Stresses its conviction that periodic and genuine elections are a
necessary and indispensable element of sustained efforts to protect the rights
and interests of the governed and that, as a matter of practical experience,
the right of everyone to take part in the government of his or her country is
a crucial factor in the effective enjoyment by all of a wide range of other
human rights and fundamental freedoms, embracing political, economic, social
and cultural rights;
 
      4.    Declares that determining the will of the people requires an
electoral process that provides an equal opportunity for all citizens to
become candidates and put forward their political views, individually and in
cooperation with others, as provided in national constitutions and laws;
 
      5.    Underscores the duty of each Member State, in accordance with the
provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, to respect the decisions
taken by other States, in accordance with the will of their people, in freely
choosing and developing their electoral institutions;
 
      6.    Reaffirms that apartheid must be abolished, that the systematic
denial or abridgement of the right to vote on the grounds of race or colour is
a gross violation of human rights and an affront to the conscience and dignity
of mankind, and that the right to participate in a political system based on
common and equal citizenship and universal franchise is essential for the
exercise of the principle of periodic and genuine elections;
 
      7.    Affirms the value of the electoral assistance that the United
Nations has provided at the request of some Member States, in the context of
full respect for their sovereignty;
 
      8.    Believes that the international community should continue to give
serious consideration to ways in which the United Nations can respond to the
requests of Member States as they seek to promote and strengthen their
electoral institutions and procedures;
 
      9.    Endorses the view of the Secretary-General that he should
designate a senior official in the Offices of the Secretary-General to act as
a focal point, in addition to existing duties and in order to ensure
consistency in the handling of requests of Member States organizing elections,
who would assist the Secretary-General to coordinate and consider requests for
electoral verification and to channel requests for electoral assistance to the
appropriate office or programme, to ensure careful consideration of requests
for electoral verification, to build on experience gained to develop an
institutional memory, to develop and maintain a roster of international
experts who could provide technical assistance as well as assist in the
verification of electoral processes and to maintain contact with regional and
other intergovernmental organizations to ensure appropriate working
arrangements with them and the avoidance of duplication of efforts, and
requests the Secretary-General to designate such an official to take on these
tasks;
                                                                          /...
      10.   Determines that the designation of the senior official would
neither pre-empt nor supersede ongoing arrangements regarding electoral
assistance nor prejudice the operational arrangements for missions that the
Organization may decide to undertake;
 
      11.   Requests the Secretary-General to allocate whenever appropriate,
and within existing resources, a small number of staff and other resources to
support the designated senior official in carrying out his or her functions;
 
      12.   Commends the Centre for Human Rights of the Secretariat as well as
the Department of Technical Cooperation for Development of the Secretariat and
the United Nations Development Programme for the advisory services and
technical assistance that they have provided and continue to provide to
requesting Member States, and requests that they collaborate closely with the
senior official designated by the Secretary-General and inform him or her of
the assistance provided and activities undertaken by them in the area of
electoral assistance;
 
      13.   Requests the Secretary-General to notify the competent organ of
the United Nations upon receipt of official requests from Member States for
electoral verification and, upon the direction of that organ, to provide
appropriate assistance;
 
      14.   Also requests the Secretary-General to establish, in accordance
with United Nations financial regulations, a voluntary trust fund for cases
where the requesting Member State is unable to finance, in whole or in part,
the electoral verification mission and to propose guidelines for disbursements
therefrom;
 
      15.   Affirms the effectiveness of and the need for coordination with
intergovernmental organizations, including regional organizations having
international electoral assistance experience;
 
      16.   Commends the efforts of non-governmental organizations that have
provided electoral assistance at the request of Member States;
 
      17.   Invites those Member States which have not responded to the
Secretary-General's request, pursuant to paragraph 10 of resolution 45/150, to
submit views concerning suitable approaches that will permit the Organization
to respond to the requests from Member States for electoral assistance, to do
so in order to enable the Secretary-General to include those views in his next
report to the General Assembly;
 
      18.   Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly
at its forty-seventh session on the implementation of the present resolution,
on the experience of the Organization in providing electoral assistance to
requesting Member States and on recommendations for providing such assistance,
on the detailed guidelines and terms of reference being developed for United
Nations electoral involvement and on the nature and disposition of the
requests from Member States, under the item entitled "Human rights questions".