ETAN: Election Observers on the Move
Dili, July 5 - ETAN volunteers joined
international election observers from throughout the world yesterday
for an afternoon of training by STAE:
Timor-Leste's Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration.
The structure and legal basis of STAE and the
Commission (CNE) were explained, as well as the process of
setting up polling places, conducting the voting, counting the
votes, confirming and announcing the results.
We hope that our presence will serve as a
measure of protection (if it's needed) but, more importantly, as a quiet sign of
Last evening, STAE saw the observers off with a
gracious reception, presided over by Tomás
Cabral, STAE's Director General, and with thanks and good wishes
from Finn Riske-Nielsen, Acting Special Representative of the UN
Secretary General, along with representatives of other diplomatic
missions whose compatriots are observing the parliamentary election.
Today, ETAN's volunteers join their Timorese NGO colleagues as they
begin to move out to the districts to monitor the voting on
Saturday, July 7. The Viqueque team departs this afternoon; other
teams leave tomorrow morning for Baucau and Liquica.
What are we expecting to see? What are we watching for? What are we
Starting with the last question - we're hoping, above all, for
"free, fair and transparent" - the watchwords of a democratic
election process. Asosiasaun HAK, with whom ETAN is observing in
Viqueque and Baucau, developed the following objectives:
To observe how:
- Citizens rights to free and secure
elections are guaranteed. The State has a duty to ensure
elections run well.
- The entitlement to live in peace is
- The people or voters are free to exercise
HAK observers will watch, on the one hand, how
well the security services are supporting the electoral process,
protecting all citizens' human rights; and, on the other, will take
particular note of conditions that particularly affect women's
exercise of their right to vote. HAK's teams will include in their
kit a checklist developed in conjunction with the Alola Foundation
for women and children, including such questions as:
- Is there a gender balance amongst the
- Is there separation of the sexes in the
- Were pregnant women or women nursing small
children adequately attended to?
- Did the media interview females?
Election observation is, above all, accompaniment.
We watch. We take note. We report. We do not intervene. We hope that
our presence will serve as a measure of protection (if it's needed)
but, more importantly, as a quiet sign of solidarity.
|Photo by John M.
ETAN Volunteers Observe Timor-Leste Parliamentary
Election 2012 (observations and reflections)
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José Ramos-Horta; H.E. Ambassador
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