United Nations Human Rights Chief urges all sides to ensure free and fair elections in Guinea Bissau

16 March 2012

GENEVA – United Nations 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,” Ms. 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,” the High Commissioner added.

Ms. 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.

OHCHR country page - Guinea Bissau http://www.ohchr.org/en/countries/africaregion/pages/gwindex.aspx 

For more information or interviews, please contact spokesperson Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 or rcolville@ohchr.org ) or press officers: Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 or rshamdasani@ohchr.org ) or Xabier Celaya (+ 41 22 917 9383 or xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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    For use of the information media; not an official record