Christian peacemakers question conduct of Iraq elections - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
January 31, 2005

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Christian peacemakers question conduct of Iraq elections

-31/01/05

Christian peacemakers in Iraq have raised questions about he conduct of the elections in Iraq at the weekend.

Before the election the director of the Iraq Electoral Commission asked members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) who have acted as election monitors in many parts of the world, to be official international election observers.

The Iraq team however chose not to play an official role - although it did monitor the election informally - because of concerns about the U.S. influence on this Iraqi election.

The general secretary of the Muslim Scholars' Board (MSB) - an organization of Sunni and Shi'a religious leaders - told members of Christian Peacemaker teams; "This election provides justification for the continuing U.S. occupation. It will allow the U.S. to override the UN Security Council resolution that the U.S should leave Iraq this year."

MSB had asked for the election to be held two months later, because of the difficulties of conducting an election in the Sunni areas.

On the Baghdad street where the Iraq team lives, a Shi'a/Christian area, at least two Iraqis did not receive their ballot papers to allow them to vote. In Adhamiya District, a Sunni area, CPT heard reports from residents that people did not receive the monthly food ration allotment if they did not also accept the ballot.

Candidates, party offices, election officials, and those passing out election materials have been targets of the armed resistance that is trying to delay the elections.

CPT did however observe the election in Karbala under the auspices of a local human rights office but maintained a distinct role from official observers and journalists.

"The U.S. assault on Fallujah in November, instead of making the election easier, as promised, made it nearly impossible to hold the election in several Sunni areas" said Cliff Kindy, a member of CPT.

"Lack of Sunni participation puts the validity of the election into question, as one of the largest minority groups will essentially be excluded from the election" he continued.

"The lack of Sunni participation also raises questions about the equitable development of a constitution, since writing the constitution is the primary task for those elected."

News reports before the election contained statements from the United Nations suggesting that the U.S. was too involved in the election process.

Christian Peacemaker Teams have maintained an almost continuous presence in Iraq since October 2003.

It was one of the first groups to present evidence of abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners by the US military in January 2004.

Find books now:

Christian peacemakers question conduct of Iraq elections

-31/01/05

Christian peacemakers in Iraq have raised questions about he conduct of the elections in Iraq at the weekend.

Before the election the director of the Iraq Electoral Commission asked members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) who have acted as election monitors in many parts of the world, to be official international election observers.

The Iraq team however chose not to play an official role - although it did monitor the election informally - because of concerns about the U.S. influence on this Iraqi election.

The general secretary of the Muslim Scholars' Board (MSB) - an organization of Sunni and Shi'a religious leaders - told members of Christian Peacemaker teams; "This election provides justification for the continuing U.S. occupation. It will allow the U.S. to override the UN Security Council resolution that the U.S should leave Iraq this year."

MSB had asked for the election to be held two months later, because of the difficulties of conducting an election in the Sunni areas.

On the Baghdad street where the Iraq team lives, a Shi'a/Christian area, at least two Iraqis did not receive their ballot papers to allow them to vote. In Adhamiya District, a Sunni area, CPT heard reports from residents that people did not receive the monthly food ration allotment if they did not also accept the ballot.

Candidates, party offices, election officials, and those passing out election materials have been targets of the armed resistance that is trying to delay the elections.

CPT did however observe the election in Karbala under the auspices of a local human rights office but maintained a distinct role from official observers and journalists.

"The U.S. assault on Fallujah in November, instead of making the election easier, as promised, made it nearly impossible to hold the election in several Sunni areas" said Cliff Kindy, a member of CPT.

"Lack of Sunni participation puts the validity of the election into question, as one of the largest minority groups will essentially be excluded from the election" he continued.

"The lack of Sunni participation also raises questions about the equitable development of a constitution, since writing the constitution is the primary task for those elected."

News reports before the election contained statements from the United Nations suggesting that the U.S. was too involved in the election process.

Christian Peacemaker Teams have maintained an almost continuous presence in Iraq since October 2003.

It was one of the first groups to present evidence of abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners by the US military in January 2004.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.