ANFREL Statement of Solidarity with Zimbabwean Citizen Election Observer Groups
The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) strongly denounces the recent incident involving the raid and the arbitrary detention of both staff and volunteers associated with the Election Resource Centre (ERC) and the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN) on the 23rd of August. This transpired shortly after the closure of polls and during the commencement of vote counting at polling stations.
ANFREL urges the authorities in Zimbabwe to unconditionally release all detained citizen observers who have been subject to arbitrary detention, along with the confiscation of their possessions during the aforementioned raid. It is incumbent upon the authorities to safeguard the freedom and entitlements of these citizen election observers, as stipulated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance, and the constitution of Zimbabwe.
ANFREL reiterates the critical role that election observers play within any electoral process. Their presence is indispensable in ensuring transparency and preserving the integrity of electoral proceedings. A governmental assault on election observers not only jeopardizes the integrity of the electoral process but also undermines the broader human rights landscape within the nation.
In this context, ANFREL stands united in solidarity with citizen observer groups in Zimbabwe. Their relentless pursuit of free and fair elections in the nation resonates with ANFREL's commitment to these principles.