OSCE/ODIHR may not send its observers to Tajikistan to monitor constitutional referendum

13/04/2016 15:20
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, April 13, 2016, Asia-Plus – The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) may not send its observers to Tajikistan to observe the constitutional referendum scheduled for May 22 this year, a source in the Tajik government told Asia-Plus in an interview.

“During unofficial meetings with representatives of the Tajik government, the OSCE/ODIHR representatives have noted that the OSCE/ODIHR mainly sends its observers to monitor elections being held in the OSCE area,” said the source.  “They have said that monitoring referendums is outside of their tasks.”

Meanwhile, following an invitation from the Government of Armenia, the OSCE/ODIHR deployed a Referendum Expert Team (ET) for the 6 December constitutional referendum.  The team reportedly assessed the referendum process in terms of its compliance with OSCE commitments and other international obligations and standards for democratic elections, as well as national legislation. The experts, in particular, looked into aspects related to the legal framework, campaign and media regulations, and referendum administration.

We will recall that Tajikistan is set to hold a referendum on constitutional amendments that would allow incumbent President Emomali Rahmon to run for office for an indefinite number of times.

The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is the principal institution of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) dealing with the “human dimension” of security.  The Office, originally named Office for Free Elections, was created in 1990 by the Charter of Paris and established in 1991.  The name of the office was changed in 1992 to reflect the broadened mandate it received at the 1992 Helsinki Summit.

Based in Warsaw (Poland), ODIHR is active throughout the 57 participating States of the OSCE.  It assists governments in meeting their commitments as participating States of the OSCE in the areas of elections, human rights, democracy, rule of law, and tolerance and non-discrimination.  ODIHR is best known for its role in observing elections.

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