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December 14, 2004

So You Want To Spend Christmas in Ukraine?

I've been looking for this information, and only just now have it, thanks to Dan. The desired deadline is past, but I don't think it's too late to contact them about being involved as an Election Observer. The following is from Orange Ukraine:


UKRAINE NEEDS YOU TO STAY FOR CHRISTMAS !

On Sunday December 26, 2004, a re-vote of the run-off for the Presidential Election in Ukraine is planned. We are looking for 500 expatriates in Ukraine to do their part to ensure that the election is fair and free of abuse or fraud by serving as specially trained international election observers. Anyone who is over the age of 18 and a citizen of another country (i.e. other than Ukraine) can become an international observer. (Ukrainian citizens can be local observers) The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), in cooperation with the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), has organized international election observers for the first two rounds and are now seeking observers for round three. You do not need to be Canadian or American to register through the UCC or UCCA - you may be a citizen of any country except Ukraine. You can make a contribution to democracy in Ukraine and spend the most interesting Christmas ever by staying in Ukraine to observe the elections !

What's Involved

The key role of an international observer is to monitor the election process and record evidence of violations and falsifications, if any. It is NOT to support any one of the candidates for President.

To be an effective observer, you need to plan a site visit to the region that you will be covering at least 2-3 days before the election - make a weekend out of it one week before! You should expect to stay in the region where you will be posted 1-2 days after the election and then pass on any evidence or documentation gathered in Kyiv. A training session will be organized for observers before the election, most likely the week of December 13th. Observers should try to bring with them a video camera, digital/photo camera, flashlight, mobile phone, extra film, batteries, etc. If you don't have some of these things, our local team will try to provide them for you.

The days before the election will require preparatory work and visiting of the Territorial Election Commission (TEC) and some polling stations. On election day you will start at 7 am and travel to about 10 different polling stations in your region. In the evening you will be assigned to a polling station for the counting of ballots, which takes several hours, often until early morning. Then you follow the ballots and documents to the TEC, where the results are entered into a computer. After the election, you will be asked to record your observations, provide evidence of violations and provide all evidence collected to the local team in Kyiv, etc. Be prepared to get little sleep for 1-2 days during the election. More information and details will be provided during the training session. It's really a lot of fun - ask those who have done it before.

The groups we are trying to organize will primarily be posted to regions of Ukraine that had significant violations in past rounds - oblasts we are targeting include Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Zaporizzhya, Kirovohrad, Odessa, Kherson, Mykolayiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Crimea. If you have a preference for any of the listed regions, please note it in your application, although it cannot be guaranteed.

Costs and Logistics

Costs - There is currently a fundraising campaign to collect money to cover election monitoring costs. However, at this point in time, observers will be required to cover many of their own costs, in particular travel within Ukraine. Local accommodation will be organized for you, but you might be required to contribute to or cover these costs. These usually run between $100-200.

When and How to Register

To register as an international observer, if you are currently based in Ukraine, complete BOTH the attached forms and send them by fax or email AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to:

Yarema Shulakewych
Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Kyiv
fax: +38-044-272-4715 (will be activated on Monday Dec. 6)
e-mail: Yarema2@hotmail.com

We would appreciate your response before December 9th to ensure we can plan the training for the following week.

There are two forms - one for UCC and one for the Central Election Commission of Ukraine (CEC). If there is something on the forms you do not understand, please leave it blank or call the contact above. The UCC will contact you for additional information if required. The UCC will submit all forms to the CEC. Anyone submitting an application after the deadlines will not be guaranteed a spot. If you have a preference for any of the listed regions, please note it in your application. Please remember, you don't have to be Canadian to register through the UCC.

If you were an observer for one of the first two rounds, it is very likely that your accreditation will be valid for round three. Please complete only the UCC form and submit it so that we know you are interested and can contact you to verify the validity of your observer card.

If you can't stay in Ukraine, you can still participate - feel free to contribute to help raise funds, our most urgent need is to raise $20,000 to purchase video cameras for use by observers on-site. Please get in touch with Lenna Koszarny at lennakoz@aol.com or +38 (050) 355 7787 to make a donation.


Contact information

In Ukraine, please contact:

Yarema Shulakewych
Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Kyiv
tel: +38-050-276-2209
fax: +38-044-272-4715
e-mail: Yarema2@hotmail.com

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