Human rights activists start campaign on election monitoring
On 12 June the press-conference of human rights activists connected with the beginning of the monitoring of the upcoming parliamentary election has taken at the office of the republican human rights association Belarusian Helsinki Committee.
According to preliminary information, the election to the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus will be conducted on 28 September 2008.
The journalists’ questions were answered by the chairman of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Aleh Hulak and the human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).
In his speech Mr. Hulak said:
First of all, I’d like to point that such important event as the election to the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus cannot but draw the attention of human rights activists. As there are almost no registered republican human rights organizations on the country level in Belarus, Belarusian Helsinki Committee initiates the monitoring of the upcoming election. At the same time, we are open for cooperation with all structures and persons who are interested in the democratization of the Belarusian society. Our work will be of a completely legal nature, because the election monitoring is prohibited neither by the BHC charter, nor by the Belarusian legislation.
Our large experience in monitoring of local and presidential elections witnesses that the Belarusian human rights activists will do it professionally and independently. It is important for us not only to monitor the election-2008, but also to analyze the dynamics of the electoral process in the country in comparison to the last elections. By this analysis we will try to evaluate whether any steps for improvement of the situation have been taken.
During the monitoring we will make emphasis on long-term work of the observers. The activity of the observers (among whom there will be BHC members and other persons) will be analyzed at each stage and at the end of each one we will make intermediate reports and deliver our opinion to the public. A final report will be prepared on the results of the monitoring.
During our work we will maintain contacts with the headquarters of different candidates to deputies (both those who state about their opposition to the authorities and those who do not). We also intend to closely cooperate with journalists. In general, we are open for discussion of elections with all participants of the electoral process.
I should remind that our monitoring will be completely independent. We do not aim to provide support for candidates from any political forces. Neither do we intend to declare the election results.
The human rights activist Ales Bialiatski added:
During the monitoring of the elections we will rely on the Belarusian legislation and the international electoral standards which are provided by the international documents which were ratified by the Republic of Belarus. Yesterday we had a meeting with the evaluation group of BDIHR OSCE. It’s worth mentioning about certain disappointment of the OSCE in the organization of the electoral process in our country. The matter is that the proposals for improvement of the electoral process, which were made by the mission during the election 2006, were completely ignored by the Central Election Commission and the country’s authorities. That’s why now the OSCE is trying to determine the format of the election monitoring and decide which scale it should have. In any case, we are interested in the mission’s presence at the election. It will make the electoral process more understandable not only for the international community, but also for the Belarusian society.
The main difference of this year’s monitoring is that we don’t plan a mass-scale monitoring on the Election Day. We have refused from that, because the election is already done before this day. All fundamental conclusions can be made during the monitoring of all previous stages of the election.
I’d like to point that the present Belarusian legislation allow holding quite free elections. The problem lies in the practice of its use. That’s why elections can be free and fair, if there is political will for it.