Mali refugees to take part in upcoming presidential voteListen / Over 174,000 Malians, who have found refuge in neighbouring countries, will be able to take part in the forthcoming presidential elections through the facilitation of the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.
Consultations are currently underway between the Malian government and countries hosting the refugees to work out modalities of how the refugees will take part in the elections.
Since the beginning of the current crisis in Mali, over 50,000 Malians have sought refuge in Burkina Faso, 74,000 are in Mauritania, while Niger is host to 50,000 refugees.
UNHCR says the voting process will be voluntary and will work with the asylum countries to ensure the process was free, fair and secure.
Adrian Edwards is UNHCR Spokesperson in Geneva.
"These consultations are expected to be followed by bilateral agreements that will form the basis of the electoral process in each of the main refugee hosting countries. UNHCR supports the voluntary participation of refugees in these elections, although our role will be limited to a strictly humanitarian and non-political one. In conjunction with refugee-hosting countries and refugees, we will facilitate space for dialogue on the electoral process, and for registration of voters. It is expected that registration of votes in camps and outside camps will be the responsibility of the Malian electoral commission, who will work with host governments to establish voting lists."
The Mali Presidential elections are due to be held on July 28 this year.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.