Categorized | National News

GBHRA “Vindicated” By Report

The Grand Bahama Human Rights Association said feels demoralized, yet vindicated by the contents of the newly released US State Department Country Report on the state of human rights in The Bahamas.

The report highlighted what the organization says is the rapidly deteriorating situation in terms of respect for fundamental individual rights.

“This year’s report notes, among other things, problems such as: the mistreatment of undocumented migrants; use of excessive force by law enforcement and immigration officers; corruption; child abuse; discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity and sexual preference; inhibition of free speech through the use of criminal libel laws; and government intimidation of non-government organizations,” GBHRA officials said.

“The last two categories are new additions which have not featured in previous annual reports on The Bahamas and reinforce what the GBHRA says is dangerous and anti-democratic direction in which the country has been heading under the current administration.”
In addition, the GBHRA highlighted the issue of corruption and solicitation of bribery by immigration officers dealing with undocumented migrants, which it says is yet another black mark on the record of The Bahamas, as is the focus on complaints that the rights of children were infringed upon under the government’s infamous new immigration policy.

The GBHRA called upon the Christie administration to move urgently to rectify the many issues raised by the report and rescue the country’s good name before it is too late.

This report comes on the heels of the Amnesty International Report that made similar claims.

The Amnesty report noted that local human rights groups have expressed fear regarding government surveillance online and made specific reference of the Supreme Court ruling that Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald had breached the constitutional rights to privacy and to freedom of expression of members of environmental group Save The Bays (STB).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that without qualification there is no threat to privacy in The Bahamas, adding that the reports of any such threat are entirely misplaced.

Regarding the Supreme Court ruling in the matter pertaining to the minister of education, the ministry added that the ruling is being appealed.

The Journal reached out to Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell for comment on this latest report but calls were unsuccessful.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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