November 28 in International Law

By: Laurence Cromp-Lapierre

The right to vote is inextricably linked to democracy and to the protection of freedom and equality. Indeed, universal suffrage appears to be a self-evident right. However, some groups have encountered significant barriers preventing them from exercising such rights.

On November 28, 1893, New Zealand, then a self-governing British colony, granted women over 21 years old the right to vote at the general election. The elections for the Maori electorates occurred later, on December 20, 1893. The liberal party won and Richard Seddon became Prime Minister.

New Zealand’s recognition of women’s rights to vote has been followed by other countries and become entrenched in international law. Important international treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as regional agreements such as the American Convention on Human Rights, enshrine citizens’ claims to universal and equal suffrage.

Laurence Cromp-Lapierre is an LL.M. Candidate at Berkeley Law. She is a student contributor for Travaux.