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Letter of the OAS Secretary General to the President of Haiti Jocelerme Privert

  October 11, 2016

The original letter from Secretary General Almagro is available here.

Mister President,

I have the honor of addressing you to express our sincere feelings of solidarity for the victims and the suffering of all Haitians following the passage of Hurricane Matthew.

I reiterate the complete disposition of the Organization of American States to cooperate with the people and government of Haiti in addressing the humanitarian, economic, political, and social challenges that once again face the Republic of Haiti.

Today it is time to redouble efforts. The humanitarian crisis that is once again testing Haiti must find its citizens and government with the same moral strength with which its people built the first revolution in the world that made all men equal.

At moments like this, that unfortunately have been repeated in the history of the country, we recognize the need for the Haitian government to devote all its efforts not only to aiding victims and their families, but also to the recovery and reconstruction of the affected areas and their populations.

In addition, we join your request for the support of the international community in facing with a situation that, because of the extreme vulnerability of the people involved, requires an immediate and determined response from all actors in all areas of Haitian life.

Because of past errors, omissions, and lack of response, we all share part of the responsibility for the shortcomings and difficulties facing the Haitian people today.

It is therefore imperative that, in line with the responsibility shared by all of us in the international community, we immediately make available our full powers of cooperation. First of all in terms of public health, to prevent and combat epidemics such as cholera, which is a harsh reminder of the responsibility of the international community for the misfortunes affecting your people, because there is nothing more urgent than protecting the life and the health of Haitians, especially in their moments of greatest vulnerability.

The OAS appreciates the generous humanitarian assistance already deployed in Haiti, and the rapid response of some countries and international organizations to reach the affected areas.

Nevertheless, if the assistance is to be truly effective in aiding reconstruction and capacity building, it is urgent that the continuation of the electoral process be prioritized as an essential engine of change and democratization in Haiti.

In this regard we support the commitment to democracy and democratization you have shown in preparing the electoral timetable.

International aid should be at the service of democratization, it should be channeled through mechanisms and political institutions capable of guaranteeing equal access to rights for all Haitians.

International solidarity should serve to support the fight against corruption as well, and not to exacerbate it. Solidarity must be consolidated in more justice, in access to rights and equity, and must be built on democratic institutional channels.

As Transparency International has said, “corruption in humanitarian aid is the most egregious form of corruption, as it deprives the most poor people, the victims of natural disasters and civil conflicts, of essential lifesaving resources.”

The only way to achieve the real guarantees of access to rights that the people need is through strengthening democracy and institutional growth in Haiti.

A political system that guarantees human rights, that allows for the construction of a resilient society, is only conceivable in a democratic system arising from the legitimate exercise of popular sovereignty in free and fair elections.

The OAS has been present, through its Electoral Observation Mission to the elections in Haiti, because of its role as guarantor of democracy in the hemisphere, as established by its Charter and the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

It is in this context that the Chief of the Electoral Mission, Ambassador Juan Raul Ferreira. recognized the decision of the Provisional Electoral Council to postpone the elections, given the critical situation in the country following the passage of Hurricane Matthew, while reiterating our commitment to electoral continuity and the Haitian democratic process.

Mister President, the OAS assumes its shared responsibility and reiterates its support to the people and government of the country to continue working on an electoral process that, through the expression of the will of the people at the polls, legitimizes democratic institutions that guarantee the access of each and every Haitian to their rights.

Allow me, Mister President to take this opportunity to renew the expression of my highest consideration.

Reference: E-108/16