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UN Urges All Sides to Ensure Fair Elections in Guinea Bissau

UN Human Rights Chief Urges All Sides to Ensure Free and Fair Elections in Guinea Bissau

GENEVA (16 March 2012) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday called for full respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law as the people of Guinea Bissau prepare to vote in the country’s presidential elections this Sunday.

“This is an opportunity for the Bissau-Guinean population to express its political will, and for the country to demonstrate its firm commitment to consolidating democratic institutions, strengthening political tolerance, respecting diversity and the human rights of all,” Pillay said.

“Any threats or incitement to violence in any form, against any person, would be a violation of international human rights law. I urge the security services in particular to act in full conformity with the law throughout this critical electoral period. It is essential that all sides express their views in a calm manner, in accordance with the rule of law, during and after the elections.”

Pillay congratulated the people of Guinea Bissau for maintaining a peaceful and democratic environment during the electoral process and for showing commendable levels of civic responsibility. She called on national authorities and the political entities participating in these elections to continue their efforts to ensure free, fair and transparent elections, with full respect for the rights to freedom of expression, opinion and assembly.

END

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