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
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 Josť 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
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