United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in Guyana, Mikiko Tanaka has called on Guyana’s political parties to accept the results of next Monday’s general elections.
“The dignified acceptance of the results by political parties will help to build confidence and trust in state institutions and create a foundation for cooperation beyond the election,” she said in a statement.
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) hopes to declare a winner by March 7, although the law gives it up to 15 days.
Citing the importance of ensuring a credible and peaceful election to Guyana’s future sustainable and more prosperous development, the UN official highlighted the importance of free and fair elections. “This is the time for all stakeholders to demonstrate commitment to democratic principles, processes and institutions and not lose sight of the fact that legitimate elections represent the voice and will of the people,” Tanaka said.
She encouraged all stakeholders to ensure the environment is conducive to rights to freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly and association. Tanaka said promoting a peaceful and calm atmosphere in respect of the democratic principles is key for a credible poll. This, she says, includes respectful exchanges of partisan ideas without resorting to hateful and inflammatory speech through to the end of the electoral process.
She explains that the UN will not observe the election as election observation is done exceptionally with a specific mandate from the Security Council or General Assembly and includes the deployment of a large team to systematically collect data on the electoral process over a period of time. Tanaka, however, says the UN is “closely monitoring political, security and human rights developments in the electoral context.”
“In collaboration with other international partners, the United Nations stands ready to support all stakeholders in fostering an environment conducive to inclusive and peaceful elections.”
The UN Resident Coordinator called for no discrimination against voters based on their sexuality, gender, disabilities or other minority status. In this context, respect for human rights is an essential element for the holding of peaceful and inclusive elections. This means that all Guyanese – men, women, persons with disabilities, members of the LGBTI community and other minorities – are able to exercise their full and equal right to participate in the electoral process without facing discrimination or other obstacles,” she said.
The UN System, she says, is committed to supporting Guyana in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which outlines 17 goals. The salient message of SDG (sustainable development goal) 16 is that there can be no sustainable development without stable, secure and inclusive societies with respect for human rights, rule of law and effective governance.
SDG 16 calls for further strengthening of institutions of governance, more inclusive and participatory processes as well as renewed commitment to end all forms of violence and insecurity, including gender-based violence.