South Asian standards for parliamentary and electoral processes

SAHR’s ‘Parliament Watch’ Programme has expanded since its inception in 2009 to include transparency and accountability of the Legislature and sensitivity to human rights issues in order to make organs of State both accessible and representative of the people. Monitoring the Legislatures of Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka has seen the development of best practices and Recommendations for South Asian Legislatures. SAHR’s ‘Inclusive Electoral Process’ project has seen the development of electoral best practices for South Asia on a number of areas which deal with the perversion of the electoral system in the South Asian States.

The areas on which SAHR has made recommendations for best practices include the conduct of elections, civil society initiatives, political party reform and funding, criminalization of the electoral process, model code of conduct and the elections commission while having recommendations on reform, conduct of elections, minorities, women and marginalized groups, funding of political parties and campaign expenditure, and the state of internal democracy within political parties.

Building on the past initiatives of these two programmes, SAHR hopes to begin the next phase by having as its focus the strengthening and building of regional networks and platforms around South Asia. SAHR will form a core group of parliamentarians who can take up issues in their own national Legislatures. The developed policy guidelines will provide the basis for discussions for this regional platform. Similarly with the compilation of the recommendations for electoral best practices SAHR will create a forum for Elections Commissions and civil society in South Asia to come together to promote best practices and share experiences.