Afghan civil society demands free and fair elections in 2014

24 Apr 2013

Afghan civil society demands free and fair elections in 2014

KABUL - A network of 25 civil society organizations (CSOs) today made public their recommendations for organization of the 2014 presidential elections in Afghanistan, calling on all stakeholders, including the Government of Afghanistan and the people, to ensure a credible election that is inclusive, free and fair.

Addressing a press conference in the capital, Kabul, representatives of CSOs urged the Government to appoint qualified and experienced individuals, who respect “the Afghan national interest and democratic values”, in the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and an election adjudication body called ‘Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC)’.

The former is responsible for administering and supervising elections and referenda, and the latter is a temporary body responsible for adjudicating challenges to candidates and complaints about conduct of the elections.

According to its renewed mandate, approved by the United Nations Security Council last month, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) – established in 2002 – provides support to the Afghan authorities at their request in the organization of the presidential and provincial council elections on 5 April 2014.

While strengthening the sustainability, integrity and inclusiveness of the electoral process, UNAMA, together with the UN Development Programme’s ELECT II (Enhancing Legal and Electoral Capacity for Tomorrow II) project, provides capacity building and technical assistance to the Afghan institutions involved in the electoral process.

At today’s news conference, the CSO leaders also called on the national and international security forces to ensure increased security to the Afghan citizens so that they are able to go to polling centres to cast their ballots.

“The government shall maintain and provide an on-time logistical scheme for safe, free, fair and transparent elections,” demanded a CSO leader, Rahim Jami.

Mr. Jami said that the Afghans do not want human rights violators to run in the elections. He expressed his belief that the release of “Conflict Mapping Report” – being prepared by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) – on human rights violations committed during the country’s civil war, will help voters exercise their rights freely and electoral institutions to ensure transparency in the electoral process.

“Media should provide an unbiased coverage of the electoral process and encourage all the citizens to participate fully and effectively in the elections,” emphasized Mr. Jami.

Speaking about the position of the Afghan civil society on the ongoing peace process, Director of the Afghanistan Civil Society Forum (ACSF), Aziz Rafiee, said that the Afghan people want social justice and it should be considered at all national and political processes including the peace process.

“The achievements made in the last decade were possible only after enormous sacrifices of the Afghan people and they are not ready to compromise on them at any cost,” concluded Mr. Rafiee.