17 May 2004

Allegations of voter intimidation in American Samoa cause concern

2:22 pm on 17 May 2004

Reports of voter intimidation by chiefs of an Eastern District village in American Samoa have been attacked as a violation of human rights.

Representative Muavaefaatasi Ae Ae Jr. has urged those alleging intimidation by Matai to get in contact with him.

He said such pressure in order to secure support for the current administration goes against the very fabric of a democracy and should not be allowed to continue.

Muavaefaatasi said he would approach the Federal Elections Commission if necessary to ensure that voters can campaign freely and vote without fear of retribution.

He predicted that intimidation tactics may lead to a volatile situation in the village and the chiefs concerned should reconsider their actions.

Residents of the village have said that at meetings, the leading chiefs have openly stated that any family that doesn't support the current administration will be dealt with.