Organization of American States


January 16, 2002




            Reacting to the recent violence and worsening political situation in Haiti, the Organization of American States (OAS) has established a new permanent mission that will work on the ground in that country to help resolve the crisis.  

            In a resolution approved by consensus late Tuesday evening, the OAS Permanent Council condemned the violence stemming from the December 17 attack on the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince and called for a full and independent investigation of the attack and the violence against opposition parties and leaders that followed. The resolution calls for the prosecution of any person found to be complicit in the violence and reparations for those who suffered damages as a result. 

The Permanent Council, which is made up of representatives of the 34 democratic countries of the Americas, also asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to visit Haiti, consult with all sectors of society and report on current human rights conditions, including events related to December 17.  

            In comments to the Permanent Council before the resolution was passed, OAS Secretary General CÚsar Gaviria said the recent violence had set back OAS-led efforts to resolve the political impasse in Haiti resulting from the disputed May 2000 legislative elections. He expressed his hope that this new mandate would ultimately allow the political negotiations to get back on track.  

            Ambassador Raymond Valcin of Haiti, for his part, stressed the importance of reestablishing a "climate of trust" between the government and opposition. Welcoming members of the opposition in attendance at the session, he said his government was interested in "building bridges rather than walls." 

            The resolution notes the willingness of the Haitian government to cooperate with the international community to end the crisis and calls for the OAS mission to work "in the spirit of the OAS Charter and the Inter-American Democratic Charter." The Democratic Charter, adopted last September, spells out basic democratic principles and establishes a framework for action when democracy is perceived to be at risk in member countries. 

            The Secretary General was instructed to report back to the Permanent Council as soon as possible, but no later than March 31, on measures taken to implement the resolution and to issue a full report to the General Assembly in June.


            Attached is a copy of the Permanent Council resolution.