The Government of Canada has given a major boost to the Organization of American States’ (OAS) efforts in developing Haiti’s system to prepare for next year’s presidential and other elections. An agreement, signed Saturday afternoon by Acting Secretary General Luigi R. Einaudi and witnessed by Canada’s Permanent Representative to the OAS Ambassador Paul Durand, provides Can $5 million to the work of the OAS Special Mission in Haiti, particularly the Organization’s Electoral Technical Assistance Project in that country.“Canada enjoys a history of close collaboration with the Organization of American States in Haiti on a number of issues of common interest, including human rights and democratic development,” Ambassador Durand stated.
“Canada is pleased today to be providing support to the OAS Special Mission in Haiti which will help it to continue its work in the critical sectors of governance, justice, and human rights.”
Besides this latest grant, Canada has contributed a total of $3.25 million since the OAS Special Mission was created in March 2002. This contribution comes on the heels of an OAS-United Nations Memorandum of Understanding that identifies the OAS’ key role in helping Haiti prepare for elections.
The grant agreement will help strengthen the OAS Special Mission in Haiti in its efforts to reduce the level of tension and build a social consensus. The OAS will also support the Haitian Provisional Electoral Council’s (CEP) voter-registration activities and help it create a database of voters for the 2005 elections.
“The international community is facing an extremely difficult test in Haiti, just as are Haitians,” Acting Secretary General Einaudi declared, upon signing the agreement documents. “That test is to build open and functioning democratic institutions—to which the electoral process is going to be very important.” Einaudi underscored the OAS commitment to ensure that elections are made part of a longer term effort at institutional development and strengthening of the confidence of the Haitian people in their government and in their state to work to their benefit.
Thanking the Canadian government for its “very tangible expression of support for the OAS,” Ambassador Einaudi lauded that government’s special interest in Haiti and its strong desire to support the promotion and consolidation of democracy in Haiti. Einaudi went on to note that the agreement “signals Canada’s confidence in the work of the OAS in the promotion and consolidation of democracy throughout the hemisphere, and in particular [in] Haiti.”
Those on hand for the signing ceremony included the Ambassador of Haiti to the OAS, Duly Brutus, and senior OAS functionaries. Ambassador Brutus thanked the Canadian government and the OAS, noting that for Haiti, this contribution is “an expression of strong support” for and confidence in Haiti.