Member States and Permanent Observer countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) made individual commitments this week during a meeting of the OAS Group of Friends of Haiti to assist the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) that will accompany the Caribbean nation’s electoral process culminating in General Elections scheduled for November.
The United States and Spain made specific offers of financial assistance while other Member States and Permanent Observers pledged to support the effort through contributions in kind or financial resources towards covering its costs, which are an estimated $5.3 million.
The purpose of the EOM is to accompany the electoral process and help guarantee transparency in the elections by deploying more than 175 observers throughout the country to work with local observation teams on the day of the voting itself. Haitians expect to elect a president, 10 senators and 89 members of Congress beginning with a first round of voting scheduled for November 28.
The EOM is a joint effort by the OAS and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a first of its kind.
OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza highlighted the Organization’s continuing commitment of support to Haiti after the January 12 earthquake. “We are moving forward in a process of solidarity with Haiti,” he said. “In spite of the terrible tragedy suffered in January this year and of the clear situation of emergency in the country, Haitians have decided to hold elections, as every democracy should even in difficult times. And this is very important for us, and we think therefore that we have to support them at all costs.”
OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin, who also chairs the Group of Friends of Haiti, thanked the Organization’s Member States and Permanent Observer countries for their support, encouraged others to act swiftly and recalled the Haitian people’s courageous commitment to democracy.
“This Mission will be a long-term presence on the ground and will provide much-needed assistance to Haiti’s electoral process,” he said. “We saw during the last elections in Haiti the commitment of the people to democracy. I was there myself, I saw the long lines and I saw Haitians eager to exercise their right to vote. We would like to see a continuation of that process. This year’s elections are important not only in the context of creating the best environment for social and economic recovery but to see a continuation of the democratic process, a deepening and strengthening of that process.”
Ambassador Ramdin also said the OAS will provide the Haitian Office of National Identity with 850,000 national ID cards to facilitate the new registration process, beginning next week when a core EOM group is expected to be on the ground.
The OAS Group of Friends of Haiti will meet next during the third week of August.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.