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Elections in Haiti: One Small Step Toward Democracy

February 2006

Grassroots International applauds the relatively peaceful manner in which Haiti’s elections were carried out on February 7th. The long lines of people, determined to vote, who waited more than eight hours for their turn at the polls are a sign of the hunger of Haitians for meaningful democratic participation. We believe that the elections in Haiti as an important step on the road to democracy and one of the only ways for Haiti to move forward out of the current political impasse.

We are pleased to present to our readers this report prepared by the electoral observers from the National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH) in Haiti (a member of Grassroots partner, POHDH–Haitian Human Rights Platform) summarizing their first hand observations with regard to yesterday’s elections.

It is important to remember, however, that regardless of which candidate wins, they will be constrained to abide by the program of development set forth in the International Cooperation Framework or Cadre de Cooperation International (CCI), which does not include any of the bold social or rural development programs that would be necessary to see a meaningful reduction in hunger and poverty for the majority of Haitians. Elections are one small part of true democracy. For true democracy to take root in Haiti, all Haitians must have a meaningful role in the creation of policies that have their best interests at heart, including the protection of the economic, social and cultural rights of Haiti’s most vulnerable citizens, and the elected government must have the freedom and support it needs to make those policies a reality.

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