Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Al Mezan) filed, on Thursday, an official objection to the Central Elections Commission (the Commission) against the Commission’s decision that effectively disenfranchises eligible prison inmates, inpatients, care home residents, and persons under quarantine. Earlier in February, Al Mezan called on the Commission to undertake all appropriate procedures to ensure eligible inmates are able to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming elections. In response, however, the Commission held that allowing prison inmates to vote would be logistically infeasible and would raise concerns over confidentiality of their votes.
In its objection, Al Mezan referenced Article 19 of Decree Law no. 1 of 2007 (on General Elections) and its amendments, providing that “each voter has the right to challenge—before the Commission—any decision issued by the Commission within three days from the day he/she is notified of the decision in question”. Al Mezan also referred to Article 10 of the Commission’s manual granting election monitoring groups the right to file objections and complaints.
Al Mezan based its objection on domestic laws and international human rights standards underpinning the right to political participation, namely Article 26 of the Palestinian Amended Basic Law, and Article 28 of Decree Law no. 1 of 2007, according to which every Palestinian citizen in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and Jerusalem shall enjoy the right to vote.
Al Mezan maintains that the Commission is obligated to fulfill its mandate as stipulated in Article 13 of the Elections Law, including through taking all the measures necessary for holding elections.
Al Mezan reiterates its call on the Central Elections Commission to rescind its decision and to take all appropriate actions to ensure that eligible people in custody and all other eligible voter groups are able to exercise their right to vote in a manner consistent with relevant domestic laws and international standards of free, fair, and inclusive democratic processes.