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Carter Center Team Arrives in Sierra Leone to Observe Landmark Elections


Atlanta, Ga.…Carter Center election observers began arriving in Freetown Monday to prepare for Sierra Leone's first post-conflict presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for May 14, 2002. The delegation of 25 observers includes election experts, regional specialists, human rights and civic leaders, including representatives from groups in Guinea and Liberia, and expert conflict resolution and human rights staff of The Carter Center. Former Benin President Nicéphore Soglo will co-lead the delegation.

"Consolidating recent advances toward peace is the next great challenge," said Ambassador Gordon Streeb, associate executive director of the Center's Peace Programs and co-leader of the delegation. "I hope the international community will sustain its important role as a critical guarantor of not only a better life for the long-suffering people of Sierra Leone but also of the future stability of the Mano River Union countries and their neighbors."

The Carter Center made pre-election assessment trips in August 2001 and February 2002 to Sierra Leone and to meet with national political leaders, electoral administrators, domestic and regional civil society organizations, and representatives from the international community.

The Carter Center has worked extensively for peace, democracy, and human rights in West Africa during the past decade. The Center is observing the 2002 presidential elections in Mali. In Liberia, the Center has worked for more than a decade to end violent conflict and promote democracy and human rights, including monitoring the country's special elections in 1997. In Nigeria, the Center partnered with the National Democratic Institute to observe the 1999 presidential elections. Since its founding in 1982, The Carter Center has observed 37 elections in 21 countries.

The Center's election observation in Sierra Leone is being funded by The Ashcroft Foundation, which was established by British businessman and philanthropist Lord Michael A. Ashcroft. A charitable foundation, it supports enterprise through promotion of education, development, and human knowledge. "I have a strong personal commitment to the transparency of the democratic process and am delighted that The Ashcroft Foundation is able to support the work of The Carter Center through this important project, " Lord Ashcroft said.

The Carter Center is a non-partisan, non-profit international institution, guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering. It seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.


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