Christians send election monitors to US
The British Section of Pax Christi has sent journalist Paul Donovan to be an observer at the US election process in Florida, a State at the centre of disputes in the 2000 elections.
A delegation of international observers arrived in the US on Sunday to be trained as monitors and then placed on site in four Florida counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, West Palm Beach and Duval, to help to ensure free and fair elections.
It follows concerns, expressed by former President Jimmy Carter and others, about the electoral process there.
Pax Christi is an international Christian peacemaking movement. It works within the Church and wider community to bring about a culture of peace by being a 'prophetic witness' to peace and standing against violence. It also promotes the option of nonviolence as means of resolving conflict and providins peace education materials and programmes.
Pax Christi USA has joined with the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) in the monitoring initiative. NAACP is the oldest and largest civil rights organisation in the United States.
Speaking of the initiative, Dave Robinson, Director of Pax Christi USA said: ìAfter 2000, when so many people were denied participation in our common life as a nation, when their basic rights were denied and they were treated without respect, we are obliged to assure that such a situation does not repeat itselfÖ We must place the importance of democracy at the core of this election, making it inclusive to all and accountable to a vision of fairness, re-enfranchisement, equality and justiceî.
Commenting on his participation in the initiative, Paul Donovan said, "Former President Jimmy Carter has already voiced his concerns about the electoral process in Florida. The concerns of the President and others make the case for an international body like that which has been assembled coming into to ensure that these elections are free and fair. It is the least we owe to the American people after all they have done to promote democracy across the world."
The monitoring team includes Maria Julia Hernandez, Director of Tutela Legal, human rights office of the Diocese of San Salvador, El Salvador, Jean Role Jean Louis, founder of Pax Christi Haiti, Emily Mogeni, UN World Food Programme worker, Kenya, Friar Aljeandro Castillo Morga, Franciscan, from Mexico.