OAS Assistant Secretary General visits Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin, on a working visit to Haiti, reiterated the hemispheric organization’s support for the country’s electoral process. He also met with the authorities to discuss future cooperation.

Ambassador Ramdin on Monday, November 20 led an OAS high-level task force on Haiti that was recently established by Secretary General José Miguel Insulza to coordinate OAS activities in Haiti, in keeping with the priorities of the Haitian government.

The task force will share its findings during a Madrid conference on Haiti that brings together donors and other international partners November 29 and 30. The conclusions will also serve as guidelines for the Organization’s long-term engagement in Haiti.

The OAS Assistant Secretary General met with President René Préval, Prime Minister Édouard Alexis and Foreign Affairs Minister Rénald Clérismé, as well as Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Jean Max Bellerive. He also met with staff of the OAS Special Mission during the visit, to refocus their efforts on future projects.

Besides providing technical support to the Provisional Electoral Council for the municipal and local elections on December 3, the OAS Special Mission will focus on projects in three main areas: good governance and the strengthening of democracy; security; and development.

A flagship project in the area of governance involves setting up a civil registry to accord all Haitian citizens 18 or older legal and official recognition with a national identification card.

The Special Mission will also provide support for the modernization of an election agency that will fall under the purview of a Permanent Electoral Council. It will also continue working on justice system reform and capacity-building for local organizations that promote and protect human rights.

Since its establishment, the Special Mission has been especially active on security matters, and the OAS will intensify its efforts to combat human trafficking as well as illegal drugs and arms trafficking.

The OAS expects to embark on new development-related projects, especially in tourism, agro-tourism, reforestation, trade revitalization and, more generally, in areas that can boost sustainable development in Haiti.

In this regard, the Assistant Secretary General announced plans for stepped-up coordination between the OAS and major inter-American agencies such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

Ramdin touched as well on plans to reactivate the group of countries known as Friends of Haiti, which will meet in discussion forums in Haiti and Washington.

Noting they had demonstrated great political maturity during presidential and legislative elections earlier this year, Ambassador Ramdin expressed confidence that Haitians will again go to the polls amidst an atmosphere of calm and a tolerance in the upcoming elections.

Exit mobile version