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UNSC says it supports free, fair, and transparent elections

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in a statement said it supports the Afghan government’s efforts to hold elections and that the efforts by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) of Afghanistan have resulted in significant progress in this regard.

The UNSC called on the Afghan government, political leaders, IEC and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) to do what is needed to create the conditions for transparent parliamentary and district council elections.

“The Security Council recall that the Afghan government, political leaders, and the Independent Electoral Commission and Electoral Complaints Commission carry the primary responsibility to create the necessary conditions for credible elections to take place,” the statement said.

According to the statement, so far over eight million people including three million women, have registered to vote in the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections as well as in the 2019 presidential elections.

“The Security Council notes the conclusion of the voter registration process in Afghanistan on July 18, which according to preliminary data of the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan saw more than 8.9 million Afghans register, including more than 3 million women, in order to exercise their democratic right to vote at the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections on 20 October 2018 and in the 2019 presidential elections,” read the statement.

The UN Security Council also emphasized that the remaining challenges in the way of elections should be addressed to accelerate the elections process. UNSC also called on the IEC and IECC to fill key vacant positions in the commissions and also to establish a central database in the IEC to enter information of all registered voters.

According to the statement, the UNSC strongly supports the Afghan elections and want it to be led and owned by Afghans.

“The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan and in this regard underscores its support to the Afghan electoral process as a fully Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process,” read the statement.

UNSC also called on all parties to work toward having a transparent election that will reflect the will of the people of Afghanistan.

UNSC also highlighted the role of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) in helping Afghan electoral bodies in holding transparent and fair elections through providing technical support to the bodies as well as capacity building support in bringing reforms in the process.

“The Security Council emphasizes the central role of UNAMA, in cooperation with the wider UN system, and in close consultation and coordination with the Government of Afghanistan, in supporting the organizations of elections and strengthening of electoral reform efforts by providing technical assistance and capacity-building and by coordinating international assistance efforts,” read the statement.

The United Nations Security Council also touched on the gender issue in Afghanistan’s elections and said gender-based violence against female candidates and voters should be addressed by the Afghan government.

“The Security Council stresses the importance of addressing sexual and gender-based violence against female voters and candidates,” the statement said.

UNSC also highlighted the importance of security for ensuring a transparent election and said it condemns all efforts by those groups that try to create problems in the elections process.

UNSC also said it will closely follow Afghanistan’s election process and that it wants UNAMA to regularly update the council on progress in this regard.

“The Security Council expresses the intention to continue to closely follow the electoral process, including the progress on the electoral preparations, and in this regard looks forward to the thorough verifications of registered voters following the completion of the registration process, and requests UNAMA to provide an update to council members on key developments and progress regarding electoral preparations within one month of the adoption of this statement,” read the statement.

UNSC also said they support Afghans in exercising their democratic right for progress and development.

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