West Africa Election Observers Network (WAEON) Calls on Senegal to Continue to Work towards Peaceful Elections and to Ratify the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance
The West African Elections Observers Network (WAEON), a coalition of non-partisan citizen observation groups at their meeting in Dakar, to share ideas and experiences on preventing and mitigating election-related conflict and violence, wishes to express its solidarity with the Senegalese people and to recognize the efforts of the government of Senegal, as they prepare earnestly towards elections in February 2012.
Having engaged with the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Election Watch, a multi- stakeholder monitoring group and a number of civil society organizations dedicated to the promotion of free and fair elections, WAEON commends the efforts of all election stakeholders for the commitment demonstrated so far towards securing credible and peaceful elections in 2012.
WAEON therefore calls on all stakeholders to continue in the positive spirit of dialogue and work urgently to resolve all outstanding electoral issues in due time so that candidates and voters can confidently expect free, fair, peaceful, transparent and credible elections in 2012. In this regard, WAEON recalls the events of 23rd June 2011 and the brutal attack on civilian demonstrators that led to the serious injury of a number of Senegalese citizens, particularly, the Vice Chair of WAEON, Oumar Diallo and Alioune Tine, President of the African Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights (RADDHO) and wishes to reaffirm the inalienable democratic rights of the citizens of Senegal to freedoms of expression, assembly, association and the right to participate peacefully in the governance of their country.
We congratulate the member states of the African Union and participants in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights who signed the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and those who ratified the aforementioned Charter, notably Sierra Leone, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda and South Africa.
We wish to encourage the African countries that have not yet signed and ratified the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance to do so as a matter of urgency. WAEON also wants to take this opportunity to encourage the people and government of Senegal to cement their commitment to credible elections, good governance and democracy by signing and ratifying the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance of 2007 to further affirm the legal and moral commitment of States to democratic development.
We also request the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to encourage its member states to sign, ratify and implement the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
Lastly, we invite the African civil society organizations to take up the challenge of popularizing the Charter and advocating for the signing and/or ratification and implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
WAON is made up of citizen observation groups from 11 West African countries. It is currently operating from the CODEO Secretariat in Accra, Ghana.
Dakar, November 25, 2011