The President of Haiti, Michel Martelly, praised the work of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to modernize the Haitian civil registry system during the inauguration this week of the digitalization lab at the National Archives of the Caribbean country.
President Martelly met with officials from the OAS, CIDA, and the National Identification Office (ONI), and congratulated the OAS team on the work conducted in the framework of the Civil Registry Modernization Project, which has been strengthening civil registry systems in Haiti since 2005.
“How can the State create programs for its people without having an idea of the quantity of people living in the country? It’s at this level that I must congratulate you for the work you do. If you have an education program, we must know how many children there are. For a program to feed children in schools, we need to know how many children there are to feed,” President Martelly said.
“I see that OAS, CIDA, ONI you have put your heads together to implement the national identification program,” he asserted. “Once again I thank CIDA, and OAS, and ONI who are already doing great work.”
In collaboration with ONI and with the financial support of CIDA, the OAS provides technical support to digitalize Haiti’s historical civil registry acts and to develop an electronic database to house the information. To date, the database contains more than 14 million acts and registration information from the 5 million adults registered with a secure National Identification Card. A civil registry database serves as the foundation for a modern civil registry system as it permits the decentralization of services, lends more security to registration processes and improves the quality of service provided to citizens.
President Martelly further underscored the importance of the right to identity as a fundamental pillar of democratic governance, and called on the OAS to accelerate ongoing efforts aimed at registering minors.
The OAS project is currently implementing, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, two pilot projects in the communes of Cité Soleil and Delmas to modernize civil registry offices and install birth registration systems within public hospitals. This methodology will then be replicated throughout all communes and hospitals nationwide.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.