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12.08.2005 Diaspora News

UNAMIL takes steps to protect Liberia Electoral Commission

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Accra, Aug. 12, GNA - The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has taken measures to ensure the protection of the premises of the National Elections Commission (NEC) following threats to disrupt the forthcoming October elections.

The action of UNAMIL, which is at the request of the International Contact Group on Liberia (ICGL), is being done to ensure the sanctity of the electoral process and to prevent any interference with the work of the NEC.

"These measures will not in any way curtail the right to peaceful protest, which is guaranteed under the law," a statement from the ICGL released by the United Nations Information Centre in Accra said on Friday.

The statement said with the close of the nomination period for candidates seeking to stand for office in the forthcoming elections, another major test on the way to the restoration of the rule of law in Liberia had been successfully completed.

Nevertheless, it added, there was much work ahead, and many challenges remained to be overcome.

It said ICGL was aware of increased concern among many Liberian citizens regarding security during the elections campaign period. "The ICGL has learnt of a letter addressed to the NEC containing what appears to be threats to disrupt the electoral process over the issue of approval of candidates.

"The ICGL is also aware of an unsuccessful attempt to destroy property belonging to a senior NEC official, and of threats made against his person and the persons of other NEC Commissioners. "The ICGL notes that full support is being provided by UNMIL to the Liberian National Police and the National Bureau of Investigations, who are investigating this incident."

The contact group said it was closely monitoring developments and was confident that the NEC would continue to conduct its work in a transparent and impartial manner.

The contact group reiterated its full support for UNMIL and Liberia's law enforcement agencies in dealing firmly and decisively with any attempts to derail the electoral process. "In addition, relevant UN Security Council resolutions call for the imposition of measures against individuals, who engage in activities that are detrimental to the peace process in Liberia."

The contact group, therefore, called upon all Liberians, including candidates for office, their supporters and other political actors, to exercise restraint and to make sure that the elections were conducted in a free, fair and peaceful manner. 12 August 2005