Media Center

Press Release


  September 26, 2005

OAS Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin, completed today a one-day visit to Haiti to evaluate and encourage progress in the elections, and to discuss some other issues of the work of the “OAS Special Mission to Strengthen Democracy in Haiti”. During his visit, the Ambassador met with the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP), the Head of the MINUSTAH, Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdes, a number of ambassadors representing states supporting the transitional process, the International Committee of the Red Cross and with the OAS Special Mission to Haiti led by Ambassador Denneth Modeste, including the Electoral Technical Assistance Programme.

The OAS is engaged in supporting the electoral authorities in order to promote the best possible elections in Haiti’s particular circumstances, which will be considered credible, free and fair. OAS engagement focuses on voter registration and the production of national identity cards. Ambassador Ramdin said the OAS was “cautiously optimistic” about progress already made in the electoral process. Improvements noted recently in the domain of security were encouraging, he said, and he expressed a hope that such improvements would continue.

The OAS Assistant Secretary General also expressed his overall satisfaction with the voter registration process so far, and underlined the organization’s commitment to support CEP efforts to ensure registration of those in more remote rural areas or in sensitive security zones before the close of registration.

“It is critical that everyone should have the opportunity to register, and we will aim to support the registration of as many people as possible,” Ambassador Ramdin said.

He also applauded the CEP’s achievement of conducting party, presidential and parliamentary candidate registration in an inclusive manner.

The Assistant Secretary General also raised with the CEP some of his concerns about the electoral process. These included the need for the CEP to be strengthened institutionally, as some critical decisions remain to be taken, including the finalization of the electoral calendar. Ambassador Ramdin stressed his confidence that the authorities recognize the need for a realistic timetable for elections, and reiterated the OAS’s support in finalizing this.

Ambassador Ramdin also gathered information on the situation of detainees in prolonged pre-trial detention, which has been identified as a serious threat to human rights in Haiti. He urged the authorities to continue their work to find a solution to this problem, and to put special emphasis on the cases of those accused of politically motivated crimes.
“I encourage the government to ensure due process is provided to all detainees, and to apply in these cases Haitian law and international treaties on human rights ratified by Haiti.”

Such human rights guarantees, as well as a clear and demonstrated commitment to credible elections demonstrated by the government will contribute to the transition by strengthening democratic governability, Ambassador Ramdin said. The real challenge will be to provide the newly elected President and his cabinet with a political and legislative environment to tackle the social and economic problems of Haiti. He called on political actors to support the transition by working towards national consensus and dialogue and agreeing to ensure post electoral governance, independent of the outcome of the elections.

Ambassador Ramdin reaffirmed the support of the OAS to the transitional process in Haiti, and reiterated to the authorities the hemispheric organization’s continued and long term commitment to reconstruction and promotion of democracy.

Reference: E-215/05