OSCE ODIHR mission meets with Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections
On August 8, the office of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" hosted a meeting of the OSCE ODIHR election observation mission with representatives of the Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections domestic observation campaign.
ODIHR was represented by head of the mission Tana de Zulueta, political analyst Stefan Szwed, and electoral expert Rashad Shirinov. Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections were represented by the campaign coordinator Uladzimir Labkovich, as well as analysts Valiantsin Stefanovich and Pavel Sapelka.
The domestic observers assessed the socio-political background for this year’s parliamentary elections, as compared to the situation during the 2015 presidential election. Particular attention was paid to the work of an interdepartmental expert group established by the Central Election Commission to consider the ODIHR recommendations on improving the electoral process in Belarus.
“We assessed the decisions taken by the Central Election Commission based on the results of the group’s work and had to stress that these regulations, unfortunately, did not contribute to the improvement of the situation with the formation of election commissions, nor did they provide for the transparency of the vote count,” said Uladzimir Labkovich. “At the same time, we are pleased that the international observers noted the importance of independent monitoring of elections and showed their interest in the analytic publications made by our campaign.”
The OSCE ODIHR election observation mission started its work on August 2. As head of the mission Tana de Zulueta earlier told reporters, the core team is based in Minsk, including 11 experts from 10 OSCE member countries. 38 long-term observers from 13 countries will soon be deployed across Belarus. It is expected that 400 short-term observers will monitor the vote on the Election Day. At this stage, the observation will include representatives from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Europe’s PA.
The campaign "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections" is a non-partisan initiative and does not intend to support political parties and politicians. The entire election process is assessed solely on the basis of the principles of free, democratic and transparent elections, which can enable the people of Belarus to fully exercise their constitutional right to participate in the government of the country.