For societies emerging from conflict, credible and transparent elections are one of the first, key steps in establishing peace and lasting security.
Peacekeeping supports electoral processes in a variety of ways, such as by ensuring security and providing technical advice and logistical support.
UN peacekeeping operations’ mandate often includes a direct role in this crucial process. When parties to a conflict agree on a ceasefire, the holding of elections is usually included in the peace agreement and represents a major step in the establishment of a legitimate state.
During the past few years, the UN has provided crucial technical and logistical support to historic elections organized in a number of countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan, Liberia and Sudan.
UN peacekeeping’s role
Over the years, the UN has provided support through:
- technical support to the national authorities in charge of elections,
- the monitoring and observation of elections,
- the organization and supervision of elections.
In general, the UN nowadays plays a supporting role by providing assistance to the country’s national electoral administration.
States can request assistance for their national authorities charged with administering elections. UN missions:
- ensure the security of citizens with uniformed personnel, in particular UN police and military,
- conduct patrols to ensure that voters can exercise their democratic right without fear of violence,
- advise on technical aspects of the reform of electoral legislation and the establishment of procedures guaranteeing the right to vote,
- provide logistical support, for example for the distribution of electoral materials, and
- inform the public and contribute to educating voters through all communications channels that are available in the field and the radio in particular.