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25321: Leiderman: (news) calling the shots in Haiti (fwd)
From: Stuart M Leiderman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
excerpts from the most recent Haiti report by the Organization of American
States, dated May 18th, is appended below. for the full report:
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18 May 2005
FOURTH QUARTERLY REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL ON THE SITUATION IN HAITI AND
ON THE WORK OF THE OAS SPECIAL MISSION FOR STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY IN HAITI
PURSUANT TO AG/RES. 2058 (XXXIV-O/04)
This fourth report of the Secretary General to the Permanent Council, pursuant
to Paragraph 15 of resolution AG/RES 2058 (XXXIV-O/04) of 8 June, 2004,
describes the current situation in Haiti, discusses the work of the OAS Special
Mission for Strengthening Democracy in Haiti (Special Mission), including the
OAS Electoral Technical Assistance Program in Haiti (ETAPH), between mid -March
and mid-May 2005. The report also gives a brief overview of the implementation
of recommendations made in AG/RES 2058 (XXXIV-O/04).
WORK OF THE SPECIAL MISSION
Pursuant to paragraph 2 of resolution AG/RES 2058 (XXXIV-O/04), which requested
that the OAS Special Mission should assist the Haitian Provisional Electoral
Council in the preparation, organization and overseeing of elections, the OAS
Electoral Technical Assistance Program in Haiti (ETAPH) has been established in
Port-au-Prince. As was mandated, the ETAPH is functioning in cooperation with
the United Nations Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH). In accordance with the
memorandum of understanding with the UN, the primary responsibility of ETAPH is
to provide technical assistance to the CEP in the registration of voters; voter
registration began on April 25.
The OAS Special Mission facilitated the recruitment by the Government of Haiti
of 21 specialized Haitian consultants to work in various ministries of the
interim government to assist with the formulation and delivery of policies.
A technical advisor continued to work closely with the Director General of the
Haitian National Police (HNP), consolidating the leadership skills of the
latter and bringing about significant improvements in the selection and
training of high- ranking officers, including commissioners and inspectors.
The technical advisor's work has also developed the HNP's capacity to prepare
and execute security operations.
The OAS Special Mission has also accompanied Haitian human rights and civil
society organizations, including the government's Ombudsman's Office, providing
them with technical advice as they have adapted to the new challenges of the
transition. After a detailed evaluation of their needs, the OAS Special
Mission has provided finance for equipment, specialized consultants, and
appropriate training for workers throughout the country. A civil society
organization active in monitoring human rights in the turbulent and indigent
neighborhood of Cite Soleil has benefited from office equipment, and the
Special Mission facilitated outreach activities of the Lawyers' Committee on
Individual Liberties (CARLI) which aim to raise public awareness on
international human rights law. The Catholic Church's Justice and Peace
Commission also benefited from grants for training in human rights monitoring,
as did the National Network for Defence of Human Rights, (formerly the National
Coalition on Haitian Rights, NCHR). It has also provided technical advice to
human rights organizations on how to prepare complaints for the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights. Further, the Special Mission has been monitoring,
very closely, the situation regarding the cases of members of the former
administration, information on which will be addressed in other sections of
In conjunction with the Department of Democratic and Political Affairs of the
General Secretariat of the OAS, the SM facilitated the participation of a
delegation of three Haitian politicians from different parties in the Caribbean
Meeting of the Inter-American Forum on Political Parties in Montego Bay,
Jamaica from April 27-29, addressing the particular challenges facing Haitian
A most positive development was the launch of voter registration in the city of
Gonaives on April 25th. Political parties also held assemblies, in some cases
nominating presidential and other candidates. Given the high number of
political parties in Haiti, mergers of some was an encouraging sign, in
particular the merger of three parties to form the Social Democrats Fusion, a
party linked to the Socialist International.
An Ad Hoc Advisory group of the UN Economic and Social Council visited Haiti
for four days in mid-April, to gather information for its long term plan for
Haiti. The Ad Hoc Advisory group declared on departure that its priorities for
projects will be in education, environment and infrastructure.
A governmental decree declaring the launch of the National Dialogue was
published on 6 April. The government announced the creation of a commission of
12 people to organize the dialogue, which will bring together Haitians of all
sectors in all the provinces in the lead up to elections, aiming to promote
depolarization and facilitate reconciliation. The National Dialogue format has
however not been welcomed by all sectors.
Speaking from South Africa, former President Aristide continued to encourage
his supporters to mobilize for his return. The Lavalas Family continued to be
ambiguous as to whether or not it will participate in elections, with some of
its members calling for a boycott, and others encouraging supporters to
register, in case the party decides to participate.
A Ministerial Meeting on Aid for the Reconstruction of Haiti, convened by the
French Foreign Ministry in Cayenne, French Guyana, on March 18, mobilized 782
million Euros for 380 infrastructural and social projects. International donors
agreed to relax disbursement procedures to speed up implementation of projects
to satisfy the Haitian population's urgent needs.
Following the serious spate of gun violence that rocked several neighbourhoods
of the capital late March /early April, HNP carried out an operation to arrest
Remissainthe Ravix and Rene Jean Anthony over the weekend of April 9/10. The
operation resulted in a shoot-out and the deaths of Ravix and Anthony, which
brought a lull in the violence in the city.
Throughout the month of April, there was a spate of kidnappings of high profile
individuals, including a prominent cardiologist, school directors, Jean-Enol
Buteau, general secretary of the Movement for National Reconstruction, a
Russian civilian employee of MINUSTAH and an unnamed HNP officer. This
phenomenon has also been observed in Cap Haitien. Most kidnapping victims were
released on payment of ransoms, with some managing to escape or be released by
the police with the assistance of MINUSTAH. Former victims' accounts suggested
that some HNP officers may be involved in some kidnapping activities.
The most important advancement during this period was the launching of voter
registration on April 25 in the city of Gonaives, Department of L'Artibonite, a
location chosen by the CEP for its national symbolism as the birthplace of
Haitian independence. To date, thirteen registration offices have been
successfully opened across the country, with at least one office opened in each
provincial capital and some rural localities, which together will cover
registration for close to 20% of the voting-age population. The CEP has
expressed general satisfaction with the development of the process in the
centers that are already functioning and reports from the media have been
favorable. In support of this process, the Electoral Technical Assistance
Program of the OAS in Haiti (ETAPH) has been working intensely to deploy the
necessary equipment to the sites, train the required registration personnel
that are being recruited by the CEP for the process, and follow registration
activity in the field to ensure smooth technical operations.
Registration centres have reported very few technical problems. The rate of
registration in operating centres is good, despite there having been little
available public information on the process, since the CEP launched its
information campaigns only on May 16. Equal participation by all age groups has
so far been noted. However, less than 25% of those registered so far are
women. The OAS Program has raised this publicly, and encouraged companies
contracted by the CEP to conduct public information campaigns to promote
greater participation by women.
Haitian electoral law puts the deadline to complete registration at August 9,
2005, a full two months before the first elections, which are municipal
elections, scheduled for October 9th. With registration beginning at the end
of April, the time available for registration has been reduced to a little over
three months, with the majority of sites still unopened around the country.
This slow pace of center openings is due to delays primarily in preparing
infrastructure, the lack of adequate security personnel to provide static
security to sites, and the lack of sufficient personnel for operations.
The elections budget itself has been an important issue requiring full
collaboration among partners during this period. Together, the executing
organizations worked extensively with donor countries and institutions on
reviewing and detailing the budget, which marked an increase from US$44 to 61m,
required for additional costs in security, civic education, infrastructure,
ground transportation, and information technology equipment, under-budgeted in
the original budget projections or which became more costly as the time
available for registration and the preparation of elections themselves became
shorter. On May 12 a project document for the management of elections funds by
the UNDP was signed by Prime Minister Latortue, the CEP, and the local heads of
OAS, UNDP and MINUSTAH. The document is an updated version of the January 10
project, to include the revised $US60.7m budget and acknowledge the deposit of
the EU contribution of 10 million Euros.
The ETAPH met during this period with three Canadian consultants, sent on
elections-related missions to Haiti to evaluate the developing situation. Mr.
Ron Gould was specifically charged with the task of examining, reviewing, and
reporting on the elections budget situation and the overall electoral process.
Mr. Gould recommended that voter registration and the issuance of National
Identification Cards be highly prioritized. Since Mr. Gould's report, various
government entities involved in the registration of citizens and the issuing of
ID cards, together with the CEP and assisted by the UN and the OAS, have
already drafted and submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval, a
decree denoting the ID Card referred to in the electoral law as an obligatory
document, and specifying its additional use (other than for voting) for
everyday civil, political and commercial activities. The adoption of this
decree would be of great significance for the registration process, since the
possibility of obtaining, free of charge, a durable, reliable and multi-purpose
identification card would be an added incentive for many to register.
The transitional period provided a unique opportunity to break with the
practices of the past and to build a judicial system upon the foundation of the
Constitution of Haiti and key Inter-American and international civil and human
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