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UNAMA PRESS STATEMENT: Domestic observers play crucial role in upcoming polls

KABUL, 3 April 2014 – As Afghans prepare for Presidential and Provincial Council elections, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) highlights the importance of domestic observers, as well as candidate and party agents in the prevention of fraud.

More than 10,000 domestic observers and 250,000 candidate and party agents have already received accreditation to monitor the elections on 5 April.

“Extensive and robust coverage by Afghan observers and campaign agents at the 6,423 planned polling centres is crucial,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Ján Kubiš. “Their presence represents one of the most effective instruments to detect and deter malpractice and fraud.”

In a meeting with domestic and international observers on 2 April, Mr. Kubiš stated that candidates bear the primary responsibility for preventing fraud by instructing their supporters not to commit fraud in their names. Non-partisan domestic observers will help safeguard the transparency of the process.

“Observation will primarily be carried out by domestic groups,” Mr. Kubiš said. “International observers add an international perspective as well as expertise. But they cannot match the numbers, coverage and access of domestic observers, who are the guardians of the electoral process.”

“More importantly,” he continued, “the participation of domestic observers underscores that these are Afghan owned elections with Afghans acting as the final arbiter of the result.”

Reacting to reports that international observer groups have left Afghanistan, the UNAMA chief noted that although some have adjusted their numbers and posture, only one observer organization has for now withdrawn their international observers, but will still monitor the election. There are several hundred international observers registered to monitor the elections.
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