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Disenfranchisement of 3/4 of Malians in Burkina & Niger, UN Silent Overall

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 23 -- With the rushed Mali election now just five days away, some in the UN system are sounding the alarm about the low percentage of people eligible to vote who have been given voters cards. UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, responded to the Free UN Coalition for Access on Tuesday with statistics for Malians in three neighboring countries.

  But where is the UN Mission in Mali, run by Frenchman Herve Ladsous, on this?

Last week after Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in France was quoted that the results in Mali should or must be accepted, no matter how imperfect the election, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky to explain what Ban had meant. Was there no minimum vote turn out requiring acceptance?

  In 2007, turn out was 36%. Could it be lower this time? On July 22, Inner City Press again asked Nesirky

Inner City Press: On Mali, itís now six days before the election and some are saying that only 60 per cent of those entitled to voter cards have them so far, and people are putting this 36 per cent, which is the turnout in 2007, as kind of a benchmark. Whatís the UNís knowledge of the number of people entitled to vote that have so far been able to do it? And does the UN have a benchmark of what would be the kind of turnout that would make the people accept it?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, Iíd have to check with the Mission on it. I donít have that information to hand.

  Having no answer the next morning, the Free UN Coalition for Access through @FUNCA_info asked a spokesperson for the UN's refugee agency Dan McNorton about the figures -- which he provided, albeit only for Malians in their neighboring states:

"In Burkina Faso, and according to Malian registration teams, 876 out of the 3,504 registered refugees were found in the civil registry; 8,409 out of 11,355 registered refugees in Mauritania, and 932 out 4,161 registered refugees in Niger."

And what about the 1,500 Malians UNHCR says are in Algeria? We've asked. Watch this site.


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