For Immediate Release
Haiti’s November 28 Elections: Trying to Legitimize the Illegitimate
A comprehensive report released today outlines the flaws leading up to Sunday’s Elections in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE - The actions of an illegitimate electoral council supported by
international actors have set Haiti on course for undemocratic
elections which may lead to widespread social unrest, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) said in a report released today.
The eleven-page report, Haiti's November 28 Elections: Trying to Legitimize the Illegitimate, was written as a follow-up to IJDH's June report
which called on the international community to pressure the Haitian
Government to hold free and fair elections. IJDH's latest report
describes the failure of the international community to heed its
warnings and provides a legal analysis of the irregularities leading up
to Sunday's November 28 elections.
Among flaws highlighted in the report are the scandals involving the
Electoral Council's running of the elections; the Council's exclusion
of Haiti's most popular political party, Fanmi Lavalas; and the
Council's inadequate preparations for the elections. Haiti's November
28 Elections also explains that the United States and other
international donors have committed to funding and working with the
Electoral Council, ignoring allegations of fraud, unconstitutional
activity, and the politically motivated exclusion of candidates and
entire political parties.
"The international community has pushed and paid for swift elections
hoping to secure a stable government to preserve its investment in
earthquake reconstruction in Haiti," said IJDH Staff Attorney and lead
author of the report, Nicole Phillips. "But by supporting elections
that exclude legitimate political parties, it is only assuring the very
social and political unrest it hopes to avoid."
The report details Haitian voters' ongoing efforts to communicate their
opposition to exclusionary elections through their boycott of the 2009
elections, their demonstrations in the streets, and their rejection of
the upcoming elections in the press and in political meetings. While
recent protests in Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitian have been demonized
by certain media outlets and international actors, Haiti's November 28
Elections sheds light on the reasons behind the mounting frustration in
the days leading up to the elections. The authors conclude that
interest in the elections is as low as the stakes in their outcomes are
The objective of IJDH's latest report is to provide the international
community with the proper context in which to view the upcoming
elections regardless of the outcome. "The next Haitian government will
need to ask its citizens to make sacrifices in order to implement the
reconstruction plans," said Brian Concannon Jr., Director of IJDH. "A
government can obtain these kinds of sacrifices in two ways: it can
develop trust, or it can use force." According to the report, the
requisite trust can only be developed through elections that are truly
free and fair.
Haiti's November 28 Elections: Trying to Legitimize the Illegitimate can be found at http://ijdh.org/archives/15456
The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
(IJDH), established in 2004, fights for human rights and justice in
Haiti and for fair and just treatment of Haitians in the United States.
The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), Haiti’s leading human rights law firm, has helped poor Haitians fight for justice since 1995.