Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Ethiopian NGOs to Sue Electoral Board over Restrictions on Local Observers

Over 30 nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) working in Ethiopia announced Tuesday they are to sue the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) over a new directive, excluding some of them from sending domestic observers.

They said that the new directive, issued six week before the May 15 national elections, has restricted the definition of " domestic observers" given in the recently amended electoral law and clearly infringes the constitutional right of Ethiopians to monitor election in their country.

According to the directive, only Ethiopian NGOs and CSOs that have specifically listed election observation as one of their objectives up on registration before the Ministry of Justice can be considered for accreditation.

"Where the very concept of election monitoring by domestic observers is just starting to gain some momentum and where most local CSOs and NGOs are less than ten years old, such requirement is simply illogical," they said.

Heads of the coalition of the NGOs and CSOs told journalists that the decision was made at a general assembly meeting of the coalition held on Saturday.

China's People's Daily

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