Categorized | National News

Activists Urge MPs To Draft Hate Crime Bill

A recent string of attacks on members of the LGBT community prompt a need to draft legislation in order to protect people that are a part of this group, this according to a local activist.

Paco Nunez, secretary for the Grand Bahama Human Rights Authority (GBHRA) urged members of parliament to initiate a debate on a hate crime bill and place at the top of its legislative agenda.

“The past several weeks have seen a shocking escalation in hate speech aimed at members of the LGBT community, culminating in the call by a senior MP for transgender individuals to be ‘exiled’. During Junkanoo Carnival, this spilled over into physical violence when two festival goers were chased and beaten by a mob is what is alleged to have been a homophobic attack. Perhaps most alarmingly, a video of the incident circulated on social media appears to show several police officers standing by, doing nothing at all to restrain the attackers or protect the clearly terrified victims.” ,” he said.

Mr. Nunez said he is very concerned about the fact that there has been little done legislatively as far as the protection of persons within the community and called on parliamentarians to act now before it is too late.

“Political leaders must pay attention to the signs. These incidents should not be viewed as isolated; collectively they point to a extremely worrying trend in Bahamian society where those seeking to express their individuality are being maligned and vilified with impunity,” Nunez added.

Mr. Nunez commended the government’s efforts in advancing gender equality and that the GBHRA fully supports the Vote Yes campaign and acknowledged members of parliament who came out and spoke against cyber bullying on social media towards members of the LGBT community.

“PLP chairman Bradley Roberts was correct in noting that hate speech on social media from some opponents of the upcoming referendum has the potential to encourage violent attacks,” Mr. Nunez said.


“We thank him for speaking out, but urge both the governing party and the opposition to do more than just talk. At the end of the day, a law banning hate crimes would be in the same spirit as the push for gender equality, amounting to official recognition that any form of discrimination on the basis of individual identity is unacceptable.


“The point is that everyone should be allowed to express themselves and promote the own interests and the interests of their community with having to face humiliation or suffer fear for their safety, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, nationality, heritage, religion, political persuasion, or any other arbitrary consideration”, Mr Nunez said.


The referendum is scheduled for June 7.






Written by Jones Bahamas

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