Further Information

International Law

The 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly commits signatories to respecting the civil and political rights of individuals. The right of citizens to elect and be elected is enshrined in Article 25 of the Convenant, stating that:

Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in Article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions:

(a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;

(b) To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;

(c) To have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his country.


The UN Committee of Human Rights issued General Comment No. 25 (1996) on Article 25 of the Covenant. It reasserts the prohibition on arbitrary discrimination between citizens. Section 11 affirms that:

11. States must take effective measures to ensure that all persons entitled to vote are able to exercise that right. Where registration of voters is required, it should be facilitated and obstacles to such registration should not be imposed. If residence requirements apply to registration, they must be reasonable, and should not be imposed in such a way as to exclude the homeless from the right to vote. Any abusive interference with registration or voting as well as intimidation or coercion of voters should be prohibited by penal laws and those laws should be strictly enforced. Voter education and registration campaigns are necessary to ensure the effective exercise of article 25 rights by an informed community.


Palestine Liberation Organisation Documents

PLO structure:


The Palestine National Charter (1964), which among other provisions, offers the basic definition of who is considered a Palestinian: