Media Center

Press Release


  March 20, 2003

An OAS/CARICOM High-level Delegation led by St. Lucian Foreign Minister and current Chairman of the CARICOM Council for Foreign and Community Relations, Julian Hunte, and OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi visited Haiti from March 19 to 20, 2003.

The High-level Delegation also included Bahamian Foreign Affairs Minister, Frederick Mitchell, Canadian Assistant Deputy Minister (Americas) Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Marc Lortie, United States Presidential Envoy for Western Hemisphere Initiatives, Ambassador Otto J. Reich and OAS Permanent Council Chairman, Ambassador Victor Hugo Godoy Morales of Guatemala. Representatives of Argentina, Mexico and France also participated. The OAS, CARICOM and the European Commission were represented. Representatives of the IDB, the IMF and the World Bank were present as observers.

The High-level Delegation met with President Aristide, the Prime Minister and members of Cabinet. Discussions were held with the Convergence Démocratique, civil society, the Conférence Episcopale as well as with the Friends of Haiti. The Delegation consistently expressed serious concern over the critical security, human rights and socio-economic situation in Haiti and underscored that the current political stalemate must be brought to an early end. It emphasized, repeatedly, that “it is now imperative that the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) be established, as agreed, so as to allow for credible elections to be held in 2003.”

The Delegation’s message has been clear: the Government of Haiti must implement OAS Resolution 822 now. It can take many steps immediately to improve public security and the observance of human rights. These steps require political will on the part of the government’s leaders. Nor are they new or externally-imposed requirements; all are in accord with the terms of CP/Res.822 adopted last September with the agreement of the Haitian Government; Resolutions 822 and 806 outline all that is needed to end Haiti’s political crisis and launch a credible, free and fair electoral process. In joining consensus at the OAS on resolutions seeking to resolve the political crisis, Haiti’s Government acted in recognition of its obligations to its people.

As these obligations are met, opposition and civil society groups must respond by having their representatives participate in the CEP. By participating in the CEP and by making clear to their constituencies that their political will is best expressed through a peaceful and fair electoral solution, they can advance the resolution of Haiti’s political crisis. All sides must also reject violence as a political tool and must demonstrate respect for democratic values and the rule of law. These values are at the heart of CP/Res. 822.

Against this background, the High-level Delegation welcomed the acceptance of all concerned of the need to improve radically the security climate in Haiti and to hold elections in 2003. The Delegation reiterated its conviction that the provisions of CP/Res. 822 are a sine qua non for resolving the current crisis and the commitment of the international community, as described in said resolution, to provide support, resources and technical assistance specifically for the professionalization of the HNP, improving security and for preparing for elections in 2003. The Delegation took careful note of the commitment given to it by the Government of Haiti to establish a security environment conducive to free and fair elections. It welcomed the commitment by civil society and political party organizations to react to such concrete steps. The High-level Delegation urged all concerned to take concrete steps to establish the CEP by March 30 in order to facilitate the holding of elections before the end of 2003.

The Government of Haiti undertook to provide all relevant information on action taken by March 30, 2003 to the OAS Special Mission for Strengthening Democracy in Haiti to enable a comprehensive Report to be presented to the OAS Permanent Council by April 2, 2003.

The High-level Delegation expressed appreciation for the courtesies and cooperation extended it by President Aristide and the Government and people of Haiti, by representatives of opposition political parties, by civil society, and by the Conférence Episcopale.

Reference: E-062/03