PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Jun 29, CMC – A seven year project that allowed Haitians to be issued with national identification cards as well as modernising the birth registry process in the French speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country comes to an end on Saturday.
The Organization of American States (OAS) said that the current phase of the multi-million dollar Modernization and Integration of Haiti’s Civil Registry project will conclude on June 30, but that challenges remain.
The project financed by the Canadian government to the tune of US$15.6 million, had been implemented by the OAS, which since 2005 in partnership with the Haitian government has provided technical support to the Office of National Identification (ONI) that has issued national identification cards to more than five million adults so far.
The OAS said the identity cards feature biometric security measures and a unique national identification number and can be used to vote, conduct commercial transactions and apply for government benefits.
“To achieve this result, the project has invested in building ONI as a functional institution, training more than 2,000 staff and providing equipment and technology to the 141 offices throughout the country.
“ONI is a key player in Haiti’s electoral process. Since 2006, the ONI provides the necessary civil registry information to the Electoral Council (CEP) to support the generation of the electoral list for five separate electoral processes,” the OAS announced.
“In anticipation of the partial legislative, municipal and local elections, ONI, with project support, has purchased materials to produce up to 450,000 new identification cards and is doubling the capacity of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System to 10 million registers, a key step to preparing for the future,” the Washington-based hemispheric body said.
It said that an important component of reforming civil registry in Haiti is a modernized birth-registry process that brings services closer to the people.
The project in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP) launched a registration of newborns campaign in which civil registry offices were placed in Maternity wings of two inner-city hospitals of Port au Prince.
“Within a span of nine months, registration rates doubled and 14,198 newborns received a birth certificate, granting them the right to an identity.
“Nevertheless, a number of legal, procedural and economic factors make civil identity elusive for a significant number of children in Haiti. Following consultations with civil society and with the technical support of the Quebec National School of Public Administration (ENAP) the project has drafted and made available to the MJSP security legislation o make the civil registry system more efficient, transparent and non-discriminatory.
The project is putting in place a searchable civil registry database that once completed will serve as a tool to help prevent identity fraud and reduce month-long wait times to receive essential documents related to identity, and ultimately allow for better Government planning.
“To date, 16,270,884 birth, death, marriage, divorce and adoption registers have been scanned, but more work is needed, particularly in data entry. The national institutions intend to continue work at a reduced scale, despite the conclusion of the project,” the OAS said.