Haiti: Samples of official documents, such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, police certificates, and peace court records, including information on their security features (2017-July 2020) [HTI200280.FE]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

1. General Considerations

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative of the National Human Rights Defense Network (Réseau national de défense des droits humains, RNDDH) [1] reported that [translation] “[t]he acts of civil status forms, as well as the registers, are provided to civil status officers by their supervising ministry, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (Ministère de la Justice et de la Sécurité publique, MJSP)” in order to “facilitate the use of standard civil status forms in all civil status offices in the country” (RNDDH 10 June 2020).

The representative also stated that [translation] “the records of the document given to an individual are sent to the Archives nationales” of Haiti (ANH) (RNDDH 10 June 2020).

The Reciprocity Schedule for Haiti, published by the US Department of State, indicates the following:

Both original documents and extracts (Extraits) are available. Due to inconsistent issuance standards and high levels of fraud surrounding Haitian civil documents, original documents are generally considered unreliable. When attempting to verify an identity or family relationship, request an Extrait. (US n.d.)

2. Birth Certificates

According to the Reciprocity Schedule, “[b]irths can be registered by either the father or the mother, if the mother is married to the father. If the child is born out of wedlock and is registered by the mother, the father is not specified and the child is registered with the surname of the mother and child shown as ‘Naturel/le’” (US n.d.).

A sample of a Haitian birth certificate, the father’s declaration, from 1992, provided by the Chancellor of the Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED) [2], is attached to this Response (Attachment 1).

Samples of blank birth certificates, one mother’s declaration and one father’s declaration, from the 2000s, provided by the RNDDH representative, are attached to this Response (Attachments 2 and 3).

The Reciprocity Schedule states that an original birth certificate “is issued only once when a birth is initially declared,” by a regional civil office (US n.d.).

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, INURED’s Chancellor indicated that the birth certificate is usually written by hand (INURED 12 June 2020).

Information on the security features of Haitian birth certificates could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Without providing further details, the Reciprocity Schedule states that “[g]enerally, original birth certificates (Acte de Naissance) are difficult to verify” (US n.d.).

2.1 Extracts of the Birth Certificate Registry

A sample of an extract of the birth certificate registry from January 2020, provided by the INURED Chancellor, is attached to this Response (Attachment 4).

The Reciprocity Schedule explains that if a person requires an additional birth certificate more than one year after the birth is initially declared, a request must be made to the ANH for an “Extrait de Naissance” (US n.d.).

The Reciprocity Schedule indicates that the extracts of the birth certificate registry are primarily blue and should bear the signature of the ANH director, a blue stamp, and a dry seal in the upper right-hand corner (US n.d.).

The Chancellor of INURED also described the security features that appear on the extracts of the birth certificate registry:

[B]eyond the visible symbols, [we can see] the water mark of the coat of arms of the Republic of Haiti; at the center of the document; below the name of the individual … the rectangle holograms at the end of which there is a serial number. [At the] top [of the document], below Archives Nationales, [we see] the bar code and at the very top on the right corner on the dry seal, another ID number. (INURED 12 June 2020)

The Reciprocity Schedule states the following:

[I]f attempting to verify an identity or family relationship, an Extrait de Naissance should be requested. An Extrait de Naissance will list two dates: the date the person was born and the date that the birth was registered. A difference of more than two years between when a person was born and when that person was registered could be an indicator of fraud. (US n.d.)

The INURED Chancellor reported that the extracts of the birth certificate registry are “more important,” that they are “substitute[s]” for birth certificates, that they are “more reliable” than birth certificates and are required when applying for a passport in Haiti (INURED 12 June 2020).

For additional information on birth certificates and extracts of the birth certificate registry, see Response to Information Request HTI105996 of October 2017.

3. Death Certificates

A sample of a death certificate from 1993, provided by INURED’s Chancellor, is attached to this Response (Attachment 5).

A blank [translation] “death certificate data” form from the 2000s, provided by the RNDDH representative, is also attached to this Response (Attachment 6).

According to the Reciprocity Schedule, “[a]n original death certificate (Acte de Décès) is issued only once at the time the death is initially declared” and it “is issued by a regional civil office” (US n.d.).

Information on the security features of death certificates could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

The Reciprocity Schedule states that “[g]enerally, original death certificates (Acte de Décès) are hard to verify,” that “[t]here is a relatively high level of fraud surrounding Haitian death documents,” and that they should be subject to verification (US n.d.).

3.1 Extracts of Death Certificates and Funeral Documents

Neither a sample of an extract of a death certificate nor a sample of a funeral document could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

According to the Reciprocity Schedule, “if attempting to verify a death, an Extrait de Décès should be requested. If the death took place less than a year ago[,] an Extrait will not be available. Therefore, consider requesting funeral documents, known as ‘pompes funèbres’” (US n.d.).

In regard to the security features of extracts of death certificates, the Reciprocity Schedule states that “[t]he extrait is primarily blue and should bear the signature of the Archives Director, a blue stamp, and a dry seal in the upper right[-]hand corner” (US n.d.).

The same source indicates that all documentation (actes, extraits, and funeral documents) should be subject to verification (US n.d.).

4. Marriage Certificates

A sample of a civil marriage certificate and information regarding its security features could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

A blank sample of a registration of religious wedding ceremony from the 2000s, provided by the RNDDH representative, is attached to this Response (Attachment 7).

The International Religious Freedom Report for 2019 on Haiti by the US Department of State explains the following:

The Ministry of Justice allows registered religious groups to issue civil documents, such as marriage and baptismal certificates. The government recognizes these certificates as legal documents only when prepared by government-licensed clergy. (US 10 June 2020, 3)

Information on the security features of the registration certificate of a religious wedding ceremony could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

4.1 Extracts of the Marriage Certificate Registry

A sample of an extract of the marriage certificate registry from 2019, provided by INURED’s Chancellor, is attached to this Response (Attachment 8).

The INURED Chancellor stated that extracts of the marriage certificate registry have the same security features as extracts of the birth certificate registry (INURED 12 June 2020).

5. Police Certificates

A sample of a police certificate from the Haitian National Police (Police nationale d’Haïti, PNH), from 2019, provided by INURED’s Chancellor, is attached to this Response (Attachment 9).

In accordance with the information in this document, sources state that police certificates are issued by the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (Direction centrale de la police judiciaire, DCPJ) and that they attest to arrests or the state of a citizen’s criminal record (RNDDH 10 June 2020; Ayibopost 13 Sept. 2019).

In a second correspondence with the Research Directorate, the INURED Chancellor stated that apart from the seal that appears at the top and at the bottom of the document, and the signatures of the officials, police certificates do not have any other security features and are easily forged (INURED 21 July 2020).

6. Peace Court Records

A sample of peace court records could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

The RNDDH representative reported that the records of peace court findings are not standardized; they can be produced on papers with a heading from the Superior Council of the Judiciary (Conseil supérieur du pouvoir judiciaire, CSPJ); however, when the stock is low, they are produced on hand-written papers or without a letterhead (RNDDH 10 June 2020).

According to the same source, only the seal and the signature are guarantors of authenticity of the records (RNDDH 10 June 2020).

For additional information on peace court records, namely the seals and the signatures that appear on the documents, see Response to Information Request HTI106267 of June 2019.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Notes

[1] The National Human Rights Defense Network (Réseau national de défense des droits humains, RNDDH) is a Haitian NGO that works in the area of human rights education and heads monitoring programs with [RNDDH English version] “key state institutions in respect to their obligations to protect [human] rights” (RNDDH n.d.).

[2] The Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED) is part of an international university and research centre network whose purpose is to “contribute to the development of high-level research and scientific training in Haiti with the aim of improving the educational, socio-economic and political condition of Haiti’s people” (INURED n.d.).

References

Ayibopost. 13 September 2019. Emmanuel Moïse Yves. “Certificat de police : saviez-vous que le DCPJ s’informe auprès de 194 pays?”. [Accessed 19 June 2020]

Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED). 21 June 2020. Correspondence from the Chancellor to the Research Directorate.

Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED). 12 June 2020. Correspondence from the Chancellor to the Research Directorate.

Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED). N.d. “Mission.” [Accessed 23 June 2020]

Réseau national de défense des droits humains (RNDDH). 10 June 2020. Correspondence from a representative to the Research Directorate.

Réseau national de défense des droits humains (RNDDH). N.d. “Vision & mission.” [Accessed 23 June 2020]

United States (US). 10 June 2020. Department of State. “Haiti.” International Religious Freedom Report for 2019. [Accessed 23 June 2020]

United States (US). N.d. Department of State. “Haiti Reciprocity Schedule.” [Accessed 19 June 2020]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral Sources: Assistant law professor at an American university, whose research focuses on Haiti; assistant professor at a school of social work at an American university whose research focuses on Haiti; Avocats sans frontières Canada; Bureau des droits humains en Haïti; Groupe d’appui aux rapatriés et réfugiés; Haiti – Archives nationales d’Haïti, consulate in Montréal, Ministère de la Communication, Office de la protection du citoyen, Police nationale d’Haïti; Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti; International Association of Women Judges; Plate-forme des organisations haïtiennes des droits humains.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International; Bertelsmann Stiftung – Transformation Index; ecoi.net; EU – Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online; Factiva; Freedom House; Haiti – Archives nationales d’Haïti; Human Rights Watch; International Crisis Group; Keesing Technologies – Document Checker; UN – Refworld.

Attachments

*Please note that the attached documents that had to be redacted are temporarily only available in black and white. They will be replaced by coloured copies as soon as possible. In the meantime, descriptions of the colours have been added to the document description.

  1. Haiti. 1992. Ministère de la Justice. “Acte de naissance (décl. Père).” Sample sent to the Research Directorate by the Chancellor of the Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED), 12 June 2020. [The ink used for the handwriting on the sample is blue. The two circular seals (on the top left and the bottom middle) are blue. The square stamp on the top left is grey. The rectangular stamp on the top right is yellowish. The rectangular stamp on the bottom right is blue. The rectangular stamp on the bottom left (apposed vertically) is black.]
  2. Haiti. N.d. Ministère de la Justice. “Acte de naissance (décl. Mère).” Blank sample sent to the Research Directorate by a representative of the Réseau national de défense des droits humains (RNDDH), 10 June 2020.
  3. Haiti. N.d. Ministère de la Justice. “Acte de naissance (décl. Père).” Blank sample sent to the Research Directorate by a representative of the Réseau national de défense des droits humains (RNDDH), 10 June 2020.
  4. Haiti. 2020. Archives nationales d’Haïti (ANH). “Extrait des registres des actes de naissance déposés au bureau des Archives nationales de la République.” Blank sample sent to the Research Directorate by the Chancellor of the Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED), 12 June 2020. [The document is iridescent, predominantly turquoise blue. The top of the letterhead (where “RÉPUBLIQUE D’HAÏTI” appears) is turquoise blue. The bottom of the letterhead (where “ARCHIVES NATIONALES” appears) is pink. The circular stamp on the top right is white. The circular stamp affixed on the signature (in blue ink) is blue-purple. The Haitian flag on the bottom left is in colour. The map of Haiti on the bottom right is dark blue.]
  5. Haiti. 1993. Ministère de la Justice. “Acte de décès.” Blank sample sent to the Research Directorate by the Chancellor of the Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED), 12 June 2020. [The ink used for the handwriting on the sample is blue. The circular stamp on the top right is blue; the stamp on the bottom middle is green. The square stamp on the top left is grey. The rectangular stamp on the top right is yellowish. The rectangular stamp on the bottom middle is green.]
  6. Haiti. N.d. “Données pour acte de décès.” Blank sample sent to the Research Directorate by a representative of the Réseau national de défense des droits humains (RNDDH), 10 June 2020.
  7. Haiti. N.d. “Acte d’inscription de mariage religieux.” Blank sample sent to the Research Directorate by a representative of the Réseau national de défense des droits humains (RNDDH), 10 June 2020.
  8. Haiti. 2019. Archives nationales d’Haïti (ANH). “Extrait des registres des actes de mariage déposés au bureau des Archives nationales de la République.” Sample sent to the Research Directorate by the Chancellor of the Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED), 12 June 2020. [The document is iridescent, predominantly turquoise blue. The top of the letterhead (where “RÉPUBLIQUE D’HAÏTI” appears) is turquoise blue. The bottom of the letterhead (where “ARCHIVES NATIONALES” appears) is pink. The circular stamp on the top right is white. The circular stamp affixed on the signature (in blue ink) is blue-purple. The Haitian flag on the bottom left is in colour. The map of Haiti on the bottom right is dark blue.]
  9. Haiti. 2019. Police nationale d’Haïti (PNH). “Certificat de police.” Sample sent to the Research Directorate by the Chancellor of the Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED), 15 June 2020. [The ink used for the handwriting is blue. The circular stamps on the top left and bottom middle are blue.]