Formed in November 1997, the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) has established itself as the leading NGO in Asia working for the promotion of democratic elections. ANFREL’s main efforts are focused on conducting election observation missions, developing and training civil society groups working on democratization in their home countries, and undertaking campaign and advocacy activities to address electoral challenges and related issues encountered in the development of democracy in Asia.
Since its formation, ANFREL has conducted over 65 election observation missions in 17 countries across Asia, with over a thousand Asian election observers participating in these missions. ANFREL draws its observers from a network of partner civil society organizations in Asia, listed below. Our long-term aim is to build expertise in elections and governance in the region, supporting a culture of democracy that is locally developed rather than externally imposed. Through observing election administration internationally, our observers develop a strong understanding of international best practices – knowledge that can then be applied to strengthen electoral processes in their respective home countries.
In addition to direct election observation programs, ANFREL also carries out training and capacity building programs for civil society groups working on elections and democracy-related issues. Providing capacity building training, either directly or indirectly, to local organizations, has been an integral part of each of our election observation missions. ANFREL believes that capacity building for local stakeholders is one of the most important elements in democratization efforts and hopes that these efforts will receive continuous support from the international community to advance electoral reform and democratization in Asia. Finally, ANFREL also carries out election-related advocacy and campaigning, including disseminating information and publishing materials related to elections and other democratic processes. Since 2012, ANFREL has also organized the Asian Electoral Stakeholder Forum (AESF), which brings together elections-related civil society groups and electoral management bodies from across Asia to foster greater understanding and cooperation on addressing the remaining challenges to free and fair elections in Asia.
By engaging diverse electoral stakeholders through our advocacy and campaign work and bringing together observers from across Asia to participate in our observation missions, ANFREL seeks to create an environment conducive to democratic development in the spirit of regional solidarity. ANFREL’s three areas of work – election observation, capacity building, and advocacy – support and complement one another to further our mission of improving the quality of elections across Asia.
WHAT WE DO
Election Observation Mission
Since its establishment, ANFREL operated in 65 election observation missions across Asia and has deployed more than 1,400 election observers in all these missions.
In all of its election observation missions, ANFREL aims:
• To support the enhancement of the integrity of electoral processes and minimize election irregularities and election-related human rights violations.
• To provide professional assessment of the conduct and integrity of the elections, including recommendations for improvements in the process.
ANFREL carries out training and capacity-building programs for civil society groups working on elections and democracy-related issue. ANFREL believes that capacity building for local stakeholders is one of the most important elements in the democratization efforts.
Also under Capacity Building, ANFREL has established the Asian Electoral Resource Center (AERC) to serve as a guide to democracy and elections in Asia by developing a database of all election-related materials available across the region.
In addition the program also works on the following:
• Developing training manuals and curriculum for local stakeholders
• Implementing voter awareness activities, and enhancing knowledge activities for members and network through direct and indirect engagements.
Campaign and Advocacy
ANFREL carries out election-related campaign and advocacy to promote democratic election principles. It has introduced a more dynamic and inclusive approach by strengthening cooperation among electoral stakeholders in the region. Since 2012, ANFREL has convened the Asian Electoral Stakeholder Forum (AESF) which brings together election-related civil society groups and electoral management bodies from across Asia to foster greater understanding and cooperation in addressing the remaining challenges to free and fair elections in the region.
The campaign and advocacy program also works on
• Publishing and disseminating information materials related to elections and other democratic processes.
• Responding to electoral developments and other related human rights issues affecting the state of democracy in the region.