ANFREL Launches Int’l Election Observation Mission to the 2020 Myanmar General Elections
29 October 2020
The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) formally launched its international election observation mission to the 2020 Myanmar General Elections with the deployment of 13 long-term observers (LTOs) on 26 October 2020.
As the country is set to hold its general elections on 8 November 2020, ANFREL’s observers will engage with election stakeholders and monitor the conduct of various election-related activities including the campaign period, advance voting, and polling process on Election Day, in the different states and regions of Myanmar.
ANFREL long-term observers will be in the field for 19 days. Prior to their deployment, they participated in an online training session on 22 and 23 October 2020 to familiarize themselves with election observation principles, the political and electoral environment in Myanmar, and international standards for free and fair elections.
ANFREL’s observers, interpreters, and support staff will comply with stringent internal policies and all government regulations designed to mitigate risks related to COVID-19. Among these are the requirement to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, use hand sanitizer frequently, maintain a detailed log of their activities for contact tracing purposes, and conduct regular health checks.
Aside from the 13 LTOs, 10 short-term observers (STOs) will be deployed at a later date for eight days. The mission also includes a core team and four electoral analysts, one in Yangon and the others working remotely, who have been conducting desk review and interviews with a diversity of stakeholders for several weeks already.
ANFREL is the only Asian international non-governmental organization accredited by the Union Election Commission of Myanmar for the 2020 General Elections. ANFREL is also the only international election observer group to have observed the 2015 general elections and the 2017 and 2018 by-elections.
“ANFREL remains committed to supporting the democratization process of Myanmar through the promotion of free and fair elections even amid the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic,” ANFREL executive director Chandanie Watawala said. “We hope to observe a genuine electoral process which upholds and protects fundamental human rights.”
ANFREL’s observation mission will be guided by a methodology tailor-fitted to reflect the challenges of the present situation while complying with the Declaration of Principles and Code of Conduct for International Election Observation. Among other international standards, ANFREL uses documents such as the Bangkok Declaration for Free and Fair Elections and the Dili Indicators of Democratic Elections which reflect Asian democratic traditions in its assessment.
Formed in November 1997, the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) has established itself as the most prominent regional NGO in Asia working on elections and democracy promotion. ANFREL focuses on election observation as well as capacity building and development for national civil society organizations and election management bodies that are actively working on democratization in their home countries. Since its formation, ANFREL has operated in more than 65 elections in 17 countries across Asia. Our long-term aim is to build expertise on elections and governance in the region, entrenching a culture of democracy that is seen as locally developed rather than externally imposed. Through observing elections in other countries, our observers have developed a strong understanding of international best practices – knowledge that can then be applied in their respective home countries. Please visit www.anfrel.org for more information.
For more information, you may contact the following:
• Ms. Chandanie Watawala, Mission Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, +66631753221 (WhatsApp)
• Mr. Tharindu Abeyrathna, Mission Coordinator, email@example.com, +959892455376
In Myanmar language:
• Mr. Aein Drar Nwe, Assistant Mission Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, +959422484201