The Bougainville Referendum Commission has invited applications from local and national groups to observe the conduct of the referendum.
Information and forms can be downloaded from the BRC website: http://bougainville-referendum.org/observers/.
Chief Referendum Officer Mauricio Claudio said observer groups provide a critical role in the democratic process by observing whether the conduct of polling and counting is free and fair according to international standards.
“We encourage the participation of local, national and international groups in the referendum, to observe the process, and provide their independent report of polling and counting so that the referendum process is seen as a
credible one by all involved,” Mr Claudio said.
All observers must sign and follow a BRC Code of Conduct for Observation, and carry out their role according to the same principles of the BRC Charter of impartiality and independence, as well as operating with objectivity, legality and certainty.
“Observers must maintain a high level of neutrality and professionalism to meet international standards. They cannot interfere in the polling and counting process. Their role is to observe only,” Mr Claudio said.
“All referendum observer groups need to be accredited by the BRC, and please note that BRC will only accredit organisations, not individuals.”
For the referendum, the three groups are defined as follows:
- Local observer group: a group based in Bougainville, that is not affiliated with any interest groups.
- National observer group: a group based elsewhere in Papua New Guinea, that is not affiliated with any interest groups.
- International observer group, a group based outside of Papua New Guinea that has no affiliation with any interest groups. This includes diplomatic missions or offices of intergovernmental organizations with offices in PNG who have been invited by the national government.
“We expect that various Bougainville and national NGOs may apply to be an observer group, as well as various diplomatic missions and intergovernmental agencies invited by the National Government,” Mr Claudio said.
Early application is encouraged by the BRC. Inquiries and applications for observers should be sent to [email protected].
Information and applications for Recognised Interest Groups, who provide scrutineers to the referendum process, will be released in the coming weeks.