Political Parties and Human Rights

As DIPD engages with partners around the world to strengthen multiparty dialogue and cooperation and to help enhance the capacities of political parties in representation and accountability, we are on a daily basis confronted with the interlinkage between human rights and democracy.

There are many testimonies and experiences shared by DIPDs political party partners that confirm the DIPD principles and that underlines the importance of respecting and promoting human rights as part of democratic strengthening.

We see that human rights are important to political parties for many reasons. Most importantly, human rights protect the existence of political parties as independent civil organisations and they protect the members. In a larger picture respect and protection of human rights such as the right to free speech, assembly and right to information are essential to ensure free and fair elections. Good respect and protection of human rights are essential to a vibrant civil society where citizens can participate freely and without fear in the local governance of their community or in the national political processes.

In several DIPD partner countries, human rights are under pressure and political parties find their ability to perform their basic functions much restricted. In some countries lack of human rights respect leads to local conflicts and immense human suffering.

While the relevance of human rights to political parties seems obvious, it is surprising that there is little material available on this subject that can form the basis for dialogue among political parties of how they themselves can address human rights or how they experience the link between political parties and human rights and more broadly speaking between human rights respect and the local or national democracy processes they engage in.

DIPD is with this short paper hoping to contribute to political party dialogues on the importance of human rights and how human rights protection can assist the political parties in their work. DIPD is very thankful to the Danish Institute for Human rights for the contribution to this draft, which will be developed as experiences and dialogues take place on the importance of human rights. It is also envisaged that country cases and examples will be added along the way as in-country as human rights briefings for political parties are starting for example in Myanmar.  It is aiming a creating discussion on how parties can make a difference both as independent political associations but also as legislators with responsibility regarding the quality of national laws adopted in many social and economic sectors including in the human rights and justice sector itself.

Political Parties and Human Rights