United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH)
In accordance with its mandate, UNMIH worked to establish an environment conducive to the organization of free and fair elections in Haiti. The municipal and parliamentary elections took place on 25 June 1995 and the presidential election took place on 17 December 1995. UNMIH worked closely with the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) of the Organization of American States (OAS), which was deployed in mid-May 1995. The United Nations Electoral Assistance Team (EAT) was established in late 1994 to provide technical assistance to the elections at both the national and departmental levels. By late 1995, the EAT came under the operational responsibility of UNMIH. The records of UNMIH in S-1870 document the work of the EAT.
The records include memoranda prepared by the Coordinator of the Electoral Assistance Team (EAT) and other EAT staff for the Director and staff of the Electoral Assistance Division (EAD) at DPKO. The memoranda cover topics such as: electoral law, the timing of electoral operations, registration, and the design and counting of ballots. In addition, some memoranda concern coordination with Haiti’s Provincial Electoral Council (CEP), the autonomous national authority constitutionally charged with organizing and supervising the elections; these memoranda detail plans for electoral data processing and staffing.
Other records that relate to the CEP include: the Letter of Agreement between UNMIH and the CEP, electoral bulletins from the CEP’s press service, EAT notes for the file about the establishment of a communications system for the CEP, calendars detailing electoral set-up activities, and minutes of EAT meetings with representatives of the CEP. The minutes, as well as minutes of EAT meetings with NGOs, OAS, and governmental and United Nations agencies, concern collaboration on the electoral process. Specific topics include: elections results, electoral observation, incidents of violation of electoral law, the production of civic education materials, the vote counting process, and ink for marking votes.
In addition, there are records relating to Haiti’s Bureau Electoral Départemental (BED), Bureau Electoral Communal (BEC), Bureau d’Inscription et de Vote (BIV), and Assemblies of Communal Sections (ASECs). These records consist of lists of registration sites and checklists of election tasks to be executed by BEDs and BECs, such as personnel deployment, evaluation of communications, and transport of elections materials.
The files also contain periodic reports authored by the USAID Advisor, weekly executive summaries, field trip reports, and after-action reviews of the elections. The periodic reports authored by the USAID Advisor detail political developments such as changes in CEP personnel, as well as meetings between representatives of the Haitian government, NGOs, OAS, and governmental and United Nations agencies.
The weekly executive summaries were prepared by Lakhdar Brahimi, the UNMIH Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Kofi Annan. The summaries cover a variety of topics, including: elections results, political parties boycotting the elections, speeches made by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the expulsion of Haitians from the Dominican Republic, Haitian government legislation on the minimum wage, arrests and trials of notorious criminals, justice and prison system reforms, police training and misconduct, economic and humanitarian aid developments, and threats against UNMIH.
Field trip reports were prepared by the EAT’s Senior Logistics Officer. They detail the Senior Logistics Officer’s meetings with EAT staff, BED presidents, and MICIVIH representatives, and contain the Officer’s evaluation of communications, equipment, and roads in the departments with respect to the conduct of elections.
Records relating to the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), a non-governmental organization, concern the procurement of polling materials and training of elections officials, registrars, and poll-workers. They include project proposals, working papers, calendars of electoral tasks, training and civic education material, and memoranda exchanged between members of the IFES, EAT, CEP, and USAID.
Other records consist of copies of electoral law from the newspaper “Le Moniteur”, departmental results for the 1995 elections, security briefs, and civic education material distributed by UNMIH’s Military Information Support Task Force (MIST).
International Civilian Mission in Haiti, OAS/UN (MICIVIH)
In November 1994, after MICIVIH returned to Haiti following the restoration of the Haitian government, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations tasked MICIVIH observers with monitoring: the human rights aspects of the electoral process, particularly the right to vote, and the rights of expression, association and assembly; and acts of intimidation and violence during the electoral campaigns. MICIVIH Observers worked closely with OAS-EOM observers.
Records prepared by MICIVIH Observers include: overviews of the political and electoral climate in the department; reports of field visits to oversee electoral operations, noting visits to political party offices and the conduct of political party gatherings; lists of candidates and their respective political parties; and statistics for various aspects of the electoral process, such as the number of registered voters. Additionally, there are periodic reports prepared by the OAS-EOM.
The summaries of Observers’ visits to local offices of Haiti’s Bureau Electoral Départemental (BED) and the Bureau Electoral Communal (BEC) detail: technical operations of setting up voting sites; voter education programs in communes; the voter registration process; the status of candidates; the distribution and collection of electoral material; security presence at voting sites; the validity of voting results; and election results.
Also included are Observers’ memoranda about a variety of subjects, including: the electoral and security climate; irregularities and obstructions to the electoral process; poor administrative practices related to the elections, such as incorrectly sealing voting boxes and violations of privacy during the act of voting; fraudulent voter registration, voting, and vote counting; anti-UN and anti-government sentiment; control of crowds at voting sites; controversies surrounding local election outcomes; political manoeuvring and suspected impartiality within Haitian electoral institutions; and public demonstrations related to elections.
The memoranda also cover politically-motivated election violence, such as: arson; attacks against candidates; threats received by BEC and BIV officials; ransacking of Bureaux d'Inscriptions et de Votes (BIV); destruction of ballot boxes; and assassinations and deaths resulting from suspicious circumstances. They also note the arrests of individuals accused of political intimidation and disruptions to the electoral process.
The records are arranged geographically by base.