As a military observer (UNMO) I am very concerned about reports that UNMO's might
be (ab) used to replace those District Electoral Supervisors (DES) who-for very good
reasons-have abandoned their job.
The DES are idealistic and highly motivated volunteers who definitely gave their
utmost to prepare the elections. But now many of them have come to the conclusion-and
most UNMO's wholeheartedly agree-that the elections, if held as scheduled, will cause
more harm than good. The overwhelming majority of the Cambodian people do not want
elections now, because they will not solve any problem, but instead will only spark
further violence, expose the population to more terror and claim the lives of hundreds
of innocent Cambodians.
The DES know the situation in the field best, and if they are saying now that the
minimum requirements for free and fair elections cannot be achieved, the crowd in
UNTAC HQ should believe them (and they should not even be surprised, since the DES
as well as UNMO's have kept the headquarters informed for many months of the deteriorating
security situation in several provinces-but ignoring reports from the field has a
long tradition in UNTAC). Instead it seems that they want to let UNMOs do the work
of the DESs.
I am strongly opposed to this kind of 'job-rotation'. Firstly, because as military
officers we are not qualified to organize elections. And secondly, because I, and
I know that many of my colleagues think the same, do not want to step in to rescue
a farce which can hardly be more than a face-saving operation for the U.N. in general
and Mr. Akashi in particular.
- a U.N. Military Observer (name witheld upon request)