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HomeNewsESN-SA Condemns Hate Speech Against Election Observers In Sierra Leone

ESN-SA Condemns Hate Speech Against Election Observers In Sierra Leone

The Electoral Support Network of Southern Africa (ESN-SA), a regional network of fifteen civil society organizations working on elections in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, has expressed its deep concern over the use of social media to spread hate speech against National Election Watch (NEW), a domestic observer group in Sierra Leone.

ESN-SA has declared its solidarity with NEW for its role in monitoring the elections and ensuring their transparency and credibility. It has also reminded the public that citizen and international election observers are recognized as human rights defenders by the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights defenders and on the right to freedom and peaceful assembly and associations.

In a statement issued on 27 October 2022, the UN Special Rapporteurs urged all UN Member States to provide election observers with the same protections as other human rights defenders and to enable them to carry out their work independently and impartially. They also called on Member States to prevent any violence, threats, retaliation, discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action against election observers.

ESN-SA has appealed to the Independent Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone to be transparent and accountable to the citizens, and to the people of Sierra Leone to remain calm and peaceful as they await the announcement of the results of the 24 June 2023 elections by the electoral authority.

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