Celebrating Human Rights Day 2016
Human Rights Day, observed on December 10th, commemorates the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
On this occasion, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) affirms its commitment to support all citizens’ rights to participate in free, fair and inclusive elections. In his historic 1982 Westminster speech, President Ronald Reagan asserted the importance of the right to vote:
“While we must be cautious about forcing the pace of change, we must not hesitate to declare our ultimate objectives and to take concrete actions to move toward them. We must be staunch in our conviction that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings. So states the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which, among other things, guarantees free elections.”
At IFES, we believe the right to vote is a fundamental political and human right and that true democracy allows each citizen to fully participate in the political and democratic processes of their country. IFES works to advance gender equality and empower women to participate in political and electoral processes as candidates and elected leaders, technical experts in elections, engaged civil society leaders and voters. IFES also supports the rights of underrepresented populations such as persons with disabilities; youth; indigenous groups; the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex (LGBTI) community; and ethnic and religious minorities to have a say in how they are governed. We inform and encourage all individuals to add their voice to the democratic process.
Since 1987, IFES has advanced good governance by empowering citizens to participate in the political process. IFES’ inclusion programming is always mainstreamed through targeted program implementation that reduces inequity and achieves measurable impact to increase participation and influence in political and electoral activities for all people.
IFES is bound by its obligation to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and our own code of ethics and conduct. IFES obliges its employees to conduct all business dealings and relationships with integrity, honesty and respect for their fellow employees, customers, suppliers and others with whom we interact. IFES is an equal opportunity employer that takes affirmative action with respect to the employment and promotion of women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, covered veterans and members of the LGBTI community. We strive to demonstrate this commitment in our daily workplace environment and in our programming efforts.