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Moving towards legal identity for Haitians

Mark Malloch Brown, the spokesperson for Smartmatic, the firm contracted by the Haitian government to provide identification documents in Haiti, says that the company has already entered seven million Haitians into that country’s new civil registry, as reported in Hoy. The goal of the project is to register the total population of the country, estimated at 10.4 million.

Malloch Brown, who in 2006, was deputy to the secretary general of the United Nations, is visiting the Dominican Republic to present Smarmatic’s bid to the Dominican government to win the contract to automate the 2016 national election.

Commenting on the civil registry in Haiti, he said the neighboring country has received US$50 million in donations to resolve its official identity document problems. The registration project is being conducted by the National Identification Office (ONI) in Haiti. Smartmatic said it has trained Haitian staff and installed the equipment necessary to process the registrations. The company spokesperson estimates that the new system will be operational in 30 days.

He said prior to the start of the current public-private partnership registration project, private firms conducted the civil registry process in Haiti and charged fees for providing these services. The lack of legal status of many people living in Haiti has led to major problems when these individuals migrate to the Dominican Republic. When the Dominican government granted an overarching 18-month amnesty period that allowed foreigners to register for the program free of charge, thousands of Haitians were not able to take advantage of the opportunity because many did not possess legal documents to confirm their identity.

“The right to an identity is at the center of being able to bring about changes, evolve and move out of poverty,” he told Dominican reporters. “Those who do not have IDs cannot continue their education or fully participate in society,” he observed.

Malloch Brown praised the Haitian government’s recent commitment to take on the responsibility of providing official identification to its people. He said 750 machines have been installed throughout the country to process civil registry applications and provide identity cards for Haitians.

Malloch Brown believes that the solution to the dispute between Haiti and the Dominican Republic can largely be addressed by providing legal identity to all people, regardless of on which side of the island they are living. He said the governments of both countries understand and agree this official civil registry problem must be resolved.

Source: DR1, Hoy

July 13, 2015

Category: DR News |

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