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Where can I get help to enforce my rights?

National Human Rights Commission

As an independent institution with human rights expertise, the National Human Rights Commission can help to mitigate exclusionary politics, calling for the protection of participatory rights for all and ensure appropriate conditions for conducting electoral activities. Having a broad mandate to protect and enforce all human rights, the NHRC may engage technical and logistical resources in order to ensure the promotion, protection, and enforcement of the right to political participation of citizens in a state.

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What are the roles played by agencies and other institutions in the protection of rights to political participation?

Trade Unions

This is a group of persons, who attempt to improve the terms and conditions of employment of their members by the employer through the process of collective bargaining. The unions’ functions range from economic and political activities, social welfare, psychological benefits, and the opportunity to participate in managerial functions in the industry. Trade unions may be seen to actively support participatory rights by mobilizing voters, shaping their members’ attitudes, and influencing representation and economic inequality.

Trade union membership on political participation was found to be both significant and positive and is associated with higher levels of political activism and electoral participation. Furthermore, an institutional context that facilitates high levels of union density seems likely to have an overall positive effect on citizen participation.

Trade union membership on political participation has both important and positive influence and is associated with higher levels of political activism and electoral participation.  They can also help support a claim in court against the violation of right to political participation and even institute an action on behalf of an individual whose right has been violated or restricted.

 

NGO Advocacy

NGOs play important part in the modern political society by encouraging voter turnout, facilitating collective actions in support of an issue. In so doing, they stimulate political participation by creating opportunities and platforms for association, and providing resources. NGOs work to contribute to the realization of human rights.  They mobilize, articulate, and represent the concerns and interests of people at different levels of decision-making; locally, nationally, or internationally.

The high level of public trust in the NGOs makes them useful in the realization of public concerns of the society. Being a voluntary group of persons with a common interest drive, locally, nationally, or internationally, they carry out tasks to promote political participation by advocacies, monitoring of policies, tabling citizens’ concerns to Government (may be through petitions) and sensitizations to encourage active political participation.

NGOs help promote right to political participation by leading citizens actions which include petitions, protests, social media campaigns, lobbying, legislative advocacy. In so doing, NGOs can help introduce bills that can influence government policies to favour citizens or stop policies that harm citizens.

Civil society organizations

Civil society has created positive social change in numerous places throughout the world. The advocate and campaign for human rights in general. For example, by lobbying governments or general public on issues of participatory rights, serving as watchdog by monitoring government compliance with human rights treaties and building active citizenship participation by motivating civic engagement at the local level and engagement with local, regional, and national governance.

Civil society also provides its citizens with the opportunity to actively participate and to enforce the democratic preconditions via influence and pressure to decision-makers in public affairs.

Political parties

Political parties can be considered as civil society organizations that summarize the interest of a particular group (or groups), articulate, and represent them. By participating in democratic elections, they want to present these interests to formal political representatives and institutions. A political party is the gateway platform to exercise the right to stand to be voted for a political post. Joining a political party is a movement for the representation of citizens of a state.

An ordinary person joins a party which represents his interests, thereby adopting the political principles of the party. Also, the political policies implemented by the party should have the best interest of the people who elected this party.

Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution provides;

Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other person and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests provided that the provisions of this section shall not derogate from the power conferred by this constitution on the independent National & Electoral Commission with respect to political parties to which that commission does not recognize.

Political parties serve as platforms for representation of various interest groups. They help give opportunities for representation of under-represented group of persons. For instance, the dominating political parties allocating offices for women leaders, special (people with disability) leader and youth leaders at various levels of the party.

 

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