Citizen’s Report Card and the Refugee Crisis

OCAPH Launches Citizens’ Report Card

OCAPH has announced that, together with a broad coalition of other civil society groups, it shortly will begin to carry out a government accountability project in three districts along the Haiti-Dominican Republic border: Belladere, Malpasse and Ouanaminthe. The goal is to draw attention to the continued migrant crisis as well as other pressing issues and urge government officials to take concrete action. Project locations will include official as well as unofficial crossing points.

OCAPH and its partners will sponsor more than a dozen citizen-government roundtables so that officials can receive direct input from citizens on the border crisis as well as other topics of concern such as education, infrastructure, corruption, human rights, citizenship, and women’s rights . During the project, OCAPH and its partners will closely monitor and report out on the actions of government officials, including promises made by those recently elected, to hold them accountable. The coalition also will work with Parliamentarians with responsibility to monitor Executive Branch projects in the selected areas.

In addition, OCAPH will train several dozen journalists to provide continuous, in-depth investigative reporting on changes in local conditions as well as the status of government decisions. Information will go out via radio and television broadcasts as well as through online channels including the OCAPH website. The broadcasts also will provide opportunities for civil society groups and government officials to debate specifically what needs to happen by whom and by when in order to move forward.

“Our aim is to put a spotlight on this ongoing pressing matter and, in partnership with other civil society groups and local citizens, help ensure that our government steps forward in a meaningful way,” said Karl Jean-Louis, OCAPH Executive Director.

Additional information about the program can be found here

 

OCAPH Recommends Steps for Repatriation

Citoyen de L’Action des Pouvoirs Publics en Haiti (OCAPH), also known as Haiti Citizen Watchdog, continues to closely follow developments in Haitian-Dominican relations, most recently the plight of refugees who have crossed the border into Haiti and the possible eventual massive repatriation of Haitian citizens from the Dominican Republic.

To obtain first-hand information on current conditions, OCAPH officials conducted fact-gathering missions to refugee camps at two of the four chief land crossings to and from the Dominican Republic: Anse-a-Pitre and Malpasse.

OCAPH’s finding: Despite notable efforts by several non-profit groups, lodging, sanitary conditions, and security are grossly inadequate. Moreover, a concerted intervention must take place as soon as possible both to respond to current conditions and to avoid a potential broader humanitarian catastrophe:

  • Determine immediate refugee needs, cost, and who/how to provide them, with special focus on women and children.
  • Local authorities and central government should take the lead, with essential input from refugees themselves and the general public.
  • Mobilize civil society groups, international organizations, and the private sector to work in partnership.
  • Enlist media to report updates and maintain transparency.
  • Install security screening to assure that gang leaders, drug traffickers are not exploiting the situation.
  • Simultaneously develop longer-term strategic repatriation strategy.

Full report in French on OCAPH website, www.ocaph.org .

 

OCAPH Hears Testimony of Haitian Refugee

During OCAPH’s monthly press conference of OCAPH about elections and the refugee crisis in the Dominican Republic, Ernitha Derome testified on the suffering experienced by the Haitian refugees expelled from the Dominican Republic. Celestin Wannito, the representative of The National Network Association for the Integration of Disabled Persons of Haiti (RANIPH), calls for a civic education program to educate the disabled people about the electoral process and to inform them how to vote.

 

OCAPH Remains Watchdog for Repatriation

Observatoire Citoyen de L’Action des Pouvoirs Publics en Haiti (OCAPH), also known as Haiti Citizen Watchdog, reports that conditions in refugee camps along the border with the Dominican Republic continue to be serious cause for concern despite efforts from both governmental and non-governmental groups.

Following on from its earlier report about conditions at Anse-a-Pitre and Malpasse, and its call for the government to take stronger coordinated action, OCAPH provides the following update:

  • Although the Government of Haiti has created a joint government-civil society commission to address the issue, no detailed plan of action has been created and made available to the public.
  • Several governmental institutions are at the border and providing limited services: the National Migration Office, the Customs Department, the National Police, the Fund of Social and Economic assistance (FAES), the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • Civil society groups such as the Group of Support to the Repatriates and Refugees (GARR) and Jesuit Immigrant Services also are onsite, but face strong logistical and financial constraints.
  • Malpasse, a major border crossing being used by refugees, still lacks a receiving facility.
  • OCAPH expresses the following additional concerns: governmental institutions appear not to be documenting conditions via photos, and the presence of the National Police remains limited.

 

Citizen Monitoring of Elections

OCAPH Participates in Workshop about Election Monitoring

OCAPH participated in a workshop with the National Institute for Democracy (NDI). The meeting lasted two hours and that allowed civil society organizations as the Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH) and ISC to explore collaborative opportunities within the monitoring of elections.

 

OCAPH Signals Concern About Upcoming Elections

With a coalition of organizations representing youth, women, and the disabled, OCAPH organized its 11th press conference with the objective of denouncing the weaknesses observed in the organization of the elections scheduled for August 9th and its low voter turnout.

Two candidates running for the Lower Chamber of the Parliament debated on the topic of voter turnout and what needed to be done to increase it.  The goal was to help increase turnout for the October 25th elections considering only 18 percent of Haitians voted in the August elections.

Haitian citizens watched and listened to the debate on T.V. and radio Ginen through SMS, What’s up, Skype and phone calls.

During their previous intervention in the media, OCAPH members encouraged voters to identify their polling stations and to bring their voter registration cards to the National Identification Office in their region. OCAPH also set up hotlines should voters wish to file complaints about elections irregularities.

OCAPH remains one of the key local organizations in Haiti that is advocating for voters from all walks of life to be part of the electoral process and make their voices heard.

 

OCAPH Conducts Historic Citizen Poll

Haiti’s first-ever direct citizen poll was conducted by OCAPH who responded to questions phoned to a local radio station, More than 15,000 participants spoke out about which issues they want candidates to address in upcoming elections.  The top was issue was joblessness.

Approximately 40 young people helped compile and analyze the poll results. The topic was what the people of Haiti want elected officials to accomplish. Other top concerns included education, health, hunger and security.  

Jean-Baptiste, Director General of Haiti’s National Identification Office (ONI), provided information on obtaining citizen identification cards, a prerequisite for voting in upcoming elections.  

 

Half a Day Training Session about Electoral Crowdsourcing

OCAPH organized a half a day training session on crowdsourcing for several local human rights, women and youth organizations.

About 100 participants took part of the techniques on how to send SMS and pictures while monitoring the legislative elections that would have taken place in August.

During the elections on Sunday, OCAPH and the human rights organizations agreed tol monitor the elections in 5 selected areas: Center, North East, Artibonite, West and South east. Oxfam sponsored this innovative program.

See full Presentation about electorale Crowd Sourcing system

 

OCAPH Hosts Discussion on Increasing Voter Turnout

OCAPH, together with a coalition of organizations representing youth, women, and the disabled, hosted a debate with two candidates running for the Lower Chamber of the Parliament on the topic of voter turnout and what needed to be done to increase it.  The goal was to help increase turnout for the October 25th elections.  The previous August 9th elections resulted in the lowest turn out for a Haitian Parliamentary election in history with only 18 percent of Haitians voting.

Haitian citizens watched and listened to the debate on T.V. and radio Ginen through SMS, What’s up, Skype and phone calls.

During their previous intervention in the media, OCAPH members encouraged voters to identify their polling stations and to bring their voter registration cards to the National Identification Office in their region. OCAPH also set up hotlines should voters wish to file complaints about elections irregularities.

OCAPH remains one of the key local organizations in Haiti that is advocating for voters from all walks of life to be part of the electoral process and make their voices heard.