Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu on the Joint Open Letter by the Main Election Monitoring Groups sent to leaders and Secretaries of all political parties contesting the Uva Provincial Council Election 2014 and the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
Click here for statement.
See recording of Skype call below
Listen to podcast below.
To: Leaders and Secretaries of all political parties
Contesting the Uva Provincial Council Election 2014
And the Inspector General of Police (IGP)
12th August 2014
Request to take appropriate action to prevent violations of election law and ensure the safety of election officials
As you are aware, there have been several reports of threats to election officials in provincial council elections held in the recent past. Evidence of many such incidents surfaced during the provincial council elections in the Southern, North Western and Western provinces – incidents in Homagama, Kesbewa (Western PC) Weligama, Matara (Southern) and Mahawa (North Western) being examples. In comparison with other elections conducted in the last decade, the number of such incidents is high.
The latest such incident of this nature, has been reported from the Badulla district on nomination day (06th August 2014). A former Uva PC minister (Anura Vidanagamage) and his brother, a ruling party Member of Parliament from the Badulla District (Thenuka Vidanagamage) had organized a large vehicle parade with the intention of traveling to Badulla from Mahiyanganaya. When this large group of supporters with over 150 vehicles entered the Loggal Oya area, a few police officers attempted to stop them under instructions from Mr. Chaminda Namal Thalangama, Deputy Commissioner of Elections, Kurunegala, who has been deployed to the Uva Province for special duty by the Election Commissioner. UPFA supporters threatened the Assistant Election Commissioner and the police officers, who attempted to stop them. Further they deleted all photographic images and video footage on camera, taken by the Deputy Commissioner of Elections. Due to this unprecedented incident, the election officers who had been verbally abused and threatened feared for their safety and returned to Badulla using alternative routes. A section of UPFA supporters arrived at Bandarawela through Haliela and Badulla while another section gathered in the Meegahakiula area, seriously violating election laws. There have also been reports of other incidents of violations of election laws by UPFA and UNP supporters holding vehicle parades.Our main concern however, pertains to the incident reported from the Loggal Oya area.
The Department of Elections had issued a circular (PCE/2014/UVA/4B) on July 31strequiring that political parties, government officers and law enforcement authorities ensure that processions and vehicle parades do not take place during the election period, especially during August 5th and 6th 2014.The Department had also urged politicians not to disturb students sitting the GCE (A/L) examination between August 5 and 29, 2014. Further the Department of Election has been issued a “code of ethics in terms of section 8(8) of the Parliamentary Elections Act No.1 of 1981 as amended by Act No.58 of 2009. Accordingly, it is expected that political parties and leaders of Independent Groups will make their candidates aware of the code of conduct and make suitable arrangement to ensure that they observe the said code.
As already reported, all Assistant Commissioners of Elections are frustrated and deeply concerned about violations of election laws and in particular of this nature. It is of pivotal importance to ensure their safety and provide them the necessary support to carry out their duties without fear or favour. In this respect, we note a number of special concerns, which should be given immediate attention. Firstly most of the vehicles used in that particular vehicle parade were “Defender” vehicles of the type typically used by politicians and elements attached to the security forces. Secondly a number of the supporters involved are from cadre given to the politicians as their security officers from the Ministerial Security Division (MSD). Unless immediate measures are taken to prevent this type of incident in the future and political actors commit themselves to upholding elections laws in word and deed, the integrity of the poll on 20th September will be gravely compromised.
As such, we call on you to take all measures to ensure the safety and security of election officials and to issue strict instructions to candidates to desist from any actions, which affect the holding of free and fair elections.We also urge the IGP that in addition to providing for the security of election officials, he act decisively in respect of the misuse and abuse of public property and state resources as well as of MSD personnel and vehicles. The appointment of unbiased and professional police officers is of particular importance in areas such as Mahiyanganaya. Furthermore, MSD personnel should be directed to wear their police uniforms at all times when on duty during elections.
A genuine and demonstrable effort by political leaders, especially from the ruling alliance is vital to uphold the integrity of the electoral process.
We will be releasing this letter to the media in the public interest.
Please be assured of our cooperation.
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu – CMEV
Mr. Rohana Hettiarachchi – PAFFREL
Mr. Keerthi Tennekoon – CaFFE
31 July 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) has commenced proceedings for monitoring the upcoming Uva Provincial Council Elections 2014.
Cooperation and assistance rendered by election officials, police, political parties, candidates, media and the public in the past has been invaluable to the exercise and we look forward to similar support in this election as well.
The CMEV secretariat is located in Colombo and incidents related to electoral violence and violations of electoral laws can be reported to the secretariat through the contact details given below.
- All CMEV reports and communiqués, and the violence mapping on Google Maps can be accessed online at http://cmev.wordpress.com
- All updates will be posted on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/cmev(or via @cmev)
- All updates will also be posted on our Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/electionviolence
CMEV is planning to deploy a number of stationery observers in selected polling stations during the election day as well as 10 Mobile Teams on Election Day in the areas identified as critical.
Our contact details are:
Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV)
No 24/2, 28th Lane
Off Flower Road,
TP: 0112565304-6 & 0115552749
Please contact following persons for comments and information:
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
Mr. Manjula Gajanayake
Mr. Mani Maran
CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition against Political Violence as an independent and nonpartisan organization to monitor the incidence of election related violence. Currently, CMEV is made up of CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.
Download as a PDF here.
CMEV wishes to acknowledge the work of the Commissioner of Elections, his officials in Colombo and throughout the Northern Province, as well as the Police in the holding of the Northern Provincial Council Election. Furthermore, the cooperation and assistance extended to CMEV greatly assisted us in our work.
CMEV also acknowledges the financial support of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) which made its monitoring of this historic election possible.
Finally, we salute the voters of the Northern Province for braving threat and intimidation in large numbers and overcoming a host of other challenges to exercise their franchise. This ensured that though the integrity of the electoral process was undermined, the final result reflected the overall wishes of the electorate.
Download the full report as a PDF here.
CMEV headquarters, 21 September, 6 pm : Tamil podcast on reported incidents at end of polling.
CMEV headquarters, 21 September, 6 pm
Sinhala podcast on major incidents as polls closed at 4pm.
21st September 2013: Conclusion of Polls 4pm
The North Provincial Council Elections saw a relatively high turnout as compared to previous elections. While the number of incidents recorded on election day was not of a high frequency, polling day and the campaign period saw a series of electoral malpractices and violations which seriously undermined the free and fair nature of the electoral process. On election day there were a number of violations including acts of arson, assault and intimidation, transportation of voters and campaigning, and an assault of an election monitor. During the campaign period CMEV highlighted a number of key problems including misuse of state resources, high military presence and involvement in support of the Government, and persons in civilian clothing and unidentified groups intimidating opposition political parties and potential voters.
On election day CMEV deployed 240 election monitors at individual polling stations in addition to 17 field monitors and 8 mobile units. All CMEV reports and communiqués and the CMEV Incidents Google Map can be accessed online at http://cmev.wordpress.com.
CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition against Political Violence as an independent and non partisan organisation to monitor the incidence of election related violence. Currently, CMEV is made up on CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.
List of key incidents from 12.00 noon to 4.00pm as reported by CMEV:
About 5 km away from No. 1 Ambalpuram Government Tamil Mixed School polling station, Mullaitivu District, Mullaitivu Electorate
The house of ITAK’s polling agent Adaikkappal Poobalan and his wife Poobalan Indra, a PAFFREL day observer attached to the Natangal polling station was burnt down completely today between 2.30- 3.00pm.
Their house is located in Pali Nagar, 5 km away from the Ambalpuram Government Tamil Mixed School polling station in Mullaitivu. This incident had taken place while they were both away from home. Their three children aged 8, 13 and 14 were also away from the house during the incident.
The victim Asaikkappal Poobalan alleges that the attack was organised and carried out by the supporters of Mullaithivu district UPFA candidate Adasivam Kanagaratnam. The victim alleges that since he is a polling agent of ITAK this incident may have taken place.
TNA supporter Mr. Rathis has informed a CMEV monitor that he was threatened by Rathnaraja from Amapuram, K.Krishnakumar from Vannivilangkulam and Brindha from Kolavilangkulam – all supporters of Mullaithivu district UPFA candidate Adasivam Kanagaratnam. Due to these threats victim Adaikkappal Poobalan alleges that the attack was organised and carried out by the supporters of Mullaithivu district UPFA candidate Adasivam Kanagaratnam.
No 5, Thirunelvely Muththuthambi Maha Vidyalaya Hall No.2 polling station, Jaffna District, Nallur Electorate
The Chairman of Nallur Pradeshiya Sabha, TNA PS member of Nallur PS Selvaraja Kajendran was assaulted by a police officer (No.862757) who arrived at the polling station in a Mahindra Jeep. The incident took place after the victim came out of the polling station after casting his vote at around 1.30pm. The victim did not receive any injuries from the assault.
No. 19 K/Santhapuram Kalaimagal Vidyalaya, Killinochchi District, Killinochchi Electorate
A day observer for the Campaign For Free and Fair Election, N. Gunerasa was attacked near polling station No. 19, Samthapuram Kalaimagal Vidyalaya in Killinochchi District at around 2.00 pm. The victim is currently being treated at Ward No. 06 at the Killinochchi Hospital. CMEV interviewed spokesperson of CAFFE Mr. Keerthi Tennakoon who stated that the attacker was identified as Chandran, an EPDP activist.
No. 38 Maruthankeny Hindu Tamil Mixed School, Jaffna District, Point Pedro Electorate Maruthankerny
At 11.00 am, CMEV monitor reported that P. Sanjeevan, the Chairman of the Point Pedro Pradeshiya Sabha and a member of the TNA complained that supporters of EPDP were blocking the path of the people who were on their way to vote and were telling the people to vote for UPFA. The election is being conducted at the Maruthankerny Hindu Tamil Mixed School, and EPDP/UPFA supporters were blocking the path leading to the polling station from both sides and threatening the people. Police had been on duty at this polling station but had not taken any measures to bring this situation under control. Voters alleged that the group harassing the voters was under the influence of alcohol.
Illavai, No 21, Illavai Meihandan Maha Vidyalaya polling station, Jaffna District, Kankesanthurai Electorate
It was reported to a CMEV monitor that between 10.30 am and 12.30pm, army officers in civil attire and newly recruited Samurdhi officers were engaged in canvassing in Kankesanthuri close to polling station 21 in Illavalai, requesting voters to cast their vote for Jaffna District UPFA candidate Mr. Angajan Ramanadan contesting under No 1.
Near Al- Aksa Maha Vidyalayam, No 14, V/Al- Aksa Maha Vidyalayam Chalambaikulam polling station, Vavuniya, District, Vavuniya electorate.
As reported by a CMEV monitor, at 12.15 pm some voters have been transported in a van bearing the registration number 58-7007, which displayed the posters of UPFA candidate Muttu Mohamed (Candidate number 03).
No. 47 Mn/Arippu Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School polling station, Mannar District, Mannar Electorate
Father Dhavaraj had gone to cast his vote at the Mn/Arippu R.C.T.M.S polling station. Since the polling station was overcrowded, a number of voters, including Father Dhavaraj had gathered in a house close to the polling station. The ASP and OIC of Silaavathurai Police came to the house where the voters gathered, suspecting that there was election canvassing going on in the building. The Police questioned the gathering as to why they are not casting the vote. The latter had argued with the police and a police officer pushed Father Dhavaraj and assaulted his brother. Later, Father Dhavaraj had questioned the police as to why they assaulted the brother and then the police had apologised. A police complaint was not made.
No.29, Jaffna Siruppidy Government Tamil Mixed School Polling Station, Jaffna District, Kopay Electorate
At around 7.00 am, CMEV monitors observed that there was one ballot box in the polling station, which did not have three stickers that are supposed to be pasted on every ballot box. As of 2.45 pm there was still no sticker on the ballot box.