Canada Deploys 500 Observers throughout Ukraine Ahead of October Parliamentary Elections
KYIV, September 6, 2012 – In its largest-ever deployment of election observers, the Canadian Government has funded Mission Canada to support democracy in Ukraine. Mission Canada has already dispatched more than 60 trained long-term observers throughout Ukraine ahead of the Parliamentary elections in October. This group will be followed by 365 short-term observers in October. In addition, Canada is sending 10long-term and 60 short-term observers attached to the multilateral mission organized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) in Europe.
Long-term observers (LTOs) will be stationed in each of the 24oblasts (administrative region), along with the two metropolitan administrative areas of Kyiv and Sevastopol, and to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Their assignment is to observe whether all aspects of the election process adhere to both the election laws of Ukraine and to internationally accepted standards.
The independent Canadian mission will be cooperating with various multilateral missions, while still manifesting a strong independent Canadian presence in Ukrainian democratic development. All of Mission Canada’s long-term observers have been accredited by Ukraine’s Central Election Commission (CEC).
“This large deployment is a reflection of the traditional special relationship, Canada has always had with Ukraine, and underscores our interest in assisting in any way possible to strengthen Ukrainian democratic processes and institutions,” said the Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine, Troy Lulashnyk.
Said Ann Szyptur, LTO Coordinator of Mission Canada: “Our observers, many of whom are from the Ukrainian-Canadian community and who bring an impressive mix of languages, experience and other skills, will contribute independent validation as to whether the electoral cycle and voting process has been free and fair.Each team of two has a male and female member, and they have been carefully vetted for language abilities, and electoral and in-country experience.” She added that an initial core group has already been on the ground for almost a month and has undertaken consultations with key stakeholders in eastern and western regions of Ukraine as well as in Kyiv.
The mandate of the observers covers an extensive list of duties, including: examining the functioning and performance of election commissions and their preparations for Election Day; election campaigning; media coverage; possible election disputes and court cases; and equal access to resources.
All Canadian observers have signed a Code of Conduct and mission work will be guided by widely-accepted observation principles.
“Our interest lies in ensuring that the will of the people is manifest in the final vote result,” said TarasZalusky
chief of staff for the mission.
The Canadian observer mission expects to be in a position to submit a preliminary report to the Ukrainian and International community as well as the Government of Canada within 24 hours of the closing of polls. In addition interim reports on the findings of the LTO mission will be provided on a regular basis throughout the next two months.
The Mission Canada project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canadathrough the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). It was organized by CANADEM, Canada’s Civilian Reserve, a Canadian and international non-governmental organization. In the past ten years, with Canadian Government funding, CANADEM has deployed over 4,500 election experts across the world including the observation of previous Ukrainian elections.
For further information, contact:
Mission Canada: Michael Bociurkiw, +380-66-467-9083 / +1-310-954-9604; Michael.Bociurkiw@canadem.ca
Embassy of Canada: Inna Tsarkova, +380-44-590-3106; Inna.Tsarkova@international.gc.ca
Website address: www.canademmissions.ca/ukraine
Follow us on Twitter: @CANADEM_Mission