This report (A/68/299) – Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai’s first to the UN General Assembly – documents threats to the freedoms of assembly and expression in the context of elections.
The report’s most critical finding elections do not take place in a vacuum, and their quality cannot be judged solely by what happens during the vote. We must also examine what happens before and after elections, and survey the long-term rights landscape, particularly the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. People should be given more space – not less – to exercise their assembly and association rights.
The Special Rapporteur argues that threats to freedom of assembly and association during election periods should be among our deepest concerns, because elections confer legitimacy on governments – and a vibrant civil society is essential for legitimate elections.