St. Kitts and Nevis’ Human Rights Report finds free and fair elections, freedom of speech, an independent judiciary and overcrowded prison

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 10TH 2011 (CUOPM) – The 2010 Human Rights Report has concluded that independent observers who monitored the January 25th 2010 General Elections in St. Kitts and Nevis concluded that the election had no major irregularities and was generally free and fair, but called for electoral reform.

The Report found that government’s implementation of the Voter Identification Card alleviated past concerns over duplicative voting and fraud related to false identities, respect for the Judiciary, freedom of speech, of the press and internet, no arbitrary arrest and detention, no unlawful arrest and killing, an independent and impartial judiciary and an overcrowded prison.

The Report released on April 8, found that International observers from the Commonwealth, the Caribbean Community, and the Organization of American States (OAS) concluded that the elections were generally free and fair.

The Commonwealth observer team reported that “voters were able to exercise their right to vote in accordance with legal procedures” but found “issues of substance” requiring improvement in the electoral process, including a need to tighten residency requirements for voter registration and lack of broad and transparent consultation in the appointment of election officials and boundary redistribution.

It noted that the OAS electoral mission made similar recommendations and added calls for guaranteed access to the media; mechanisms to recruit, train, and finance female candidates; and greater civil society support for the electoral process.

It noted that for the January 2010 election, the government successfully implemented identity controls for voting, alleviating past concerns over duplicative voting and fraud related to false identities.

“There are no campaign finance regulations or prohibitions on political parties paying for the transportation of overseas nationals to return to the country to vote. Observers remained concerned some voters may be registered in constituencies in which they do not live.

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