27 February 2020 - Guyana has a unique opportunity to establish a more prosperous and sustainable development path for all its citizens.
Ensuring a credible and peaceful election is central to the country’s future development. This is the time for all stakeholders to demonstrate commitment to democratic principles, processes and institutions and not lose sight of the fact that legitimate elections represent the voice and will of the people.
I encourage all stakeholders to ensure an enabling environment for the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. Promoting a peaceful and calm atmosphere in respect of the rule of law is key for a credible poll. This includes respectful exchanges of partisan ideas without resorting to hateful and inflammatory speech through to the end of the electoral process. The dignified acceptance of the results by political parties will help to build confidence and trust in state institutions and create a foundation for cooperation beyond the election.
In this context, respect for human rights is an essential element for the holding of peaceful and inclusive elections. This means that all Guyanese - men, women, persons with disabilities, members of the LGBTI community and other minorities - are able to exercise their full and equal right to participate in the electoral process without facing discrimination or other obstacles.
The UN System is committed to supporting Guyana in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The salient message of SDG 16 is that there can be no sustainable development without stable, secure and inclusive societies with respect for human rights, rule of law and effective governance.
SDG 16 calls for further strengthening of institutions of governance, more inclusive and participatory processes as well as renewed commitment to end all forms of violence and insecurity, including gender-based violence.
The UN will not observe the election as election observation is done exceptionally with a specific mandate from the Security Council or General Assembly and includes the deployment of a large team to systematically collect data on the electoral process over a period of time. We are however closely monitoring political, security and human rights developments in the electoral context.
In collaboration with other international partners, the United Nations stands ready to support all stakeholders in fostering an environment conducive to inclusive and peaceful elections.
[ transcript of video message by Mikiko Tanaka, UN Resident Coordinator for Guyana]