Green Party urges Government to send election observers to the Congo

Green Party of Canada urges the Harper Government to step forward and
authorize a Canadian election observation mission for the Democratic
Republic of the Congo.

On June 20, the Congolese government sent
out invitations for international election observers.  On August 2,
Catherine Ashton, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs
and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission,
announced her decision to send an EU election observation mission to the
Congo.  Baroness Ashton plans to send the mission between six and eight
weeks before the November 28 election.

A Government of Canada
web page, most recently updated in July, notes that "several" Canadian
observers will be joining the EU mission.  "This vague statement
predates the EU announcement. More than a week has elapsed since the
EU's public statement and we therefore question if Canada's commitment
to the Congo is serious," stated Ellen Michelson, the Green Party of
Canada's Peace and Security Critic.

Events in the Congo have been
met with too much neglect, worldwide.  "It is critically important for
the future of the Congo that their November elections are not only free
and fair, but are also declared to be so by an independent international
body," notes Dr. Glenys Babcock, President of Pragmora, an
international peace think tank. "If the Congolese people do not believe
that the November elections are fair, there is a very real risk that
violence will not only engulf the Congo, but will threaten the fragile
peace in neighbouring Rwanda, Uganda, and South Sudan as well."  Sending
our own Canadian team of substantial size will deliver a strong

"In 2006, Canada sent observers to the Congo.  Last
year, we sent several groups, totalling several hundred observers, to
Ukraine.  We need to do the same for the Congo at this critical
juncture," emphasized Green Party leader Elizabeth May.  "Canada has the
opportunity to support the Congo's fledgling democracy and help prevent
an escalation of conflict.  We urge our government to keep its