Categorized | National News

Mitchell Off To UN General Assembly

Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell and a Bahamian delegation are in New York today for the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The delegation left yesterday.

Minister Mitchell will head the delegation until Prime Minister Perry Christie arrives in New York on Friday.
This year, Mr. Christie will deliver the country’s national statement to the General Assembly for the first time during his tenure as prime minister.

His address is scheduled for Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

“The annual gathering in New York is the opportunity for nations to exchange views both bilaterally and in the multi-lateral context on a number of important issues. Of particular interest to The Bahamas will be the high level dialogues on migration, on the millennium development goals and on sustainable development. In this context there will be a number of meetings with agencies in the UN responsible for migration matters,” Minister Mitchell said.

“This will also be an opportunity for The Bahamas to continue to make the case in the national statement for a global governance infrastructure for the regulation and support of the financial services sector and to continue to make the case for Small Island Developing States and the adverse effects of climate change.”

This year marks the 40th anniversary of The Bahamas’ membership in the United Nations.

The country officially became its 133rd member on September 14, 1973 with the late Sir Lynden O. Pindling as prime minister and the late L.B. Johnson as the country’s first permanent representative to the United Nations.

Speaking on the topic of illegal immigration, Minister Mitchell noted that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) are two UN specialised agencies, which have carriage of the question of migrants and their effect on societies.

“In the one case, the UNCHR is responsible for the resettlement of migrants who come to this country who are judged to have asylum status. On the other side you have the IOM that is able to employ resources for technical assistance to support the impasse or to support how to ameliorate the impasse of migration on various countries. So, they are two important agencies,” he said.

“We hope first of all to make the case publicly of The Bahamas’ continued problem with this issue. The Cuban issue on the one hand; the Haitian issue on the other hand and the need for us to employ international resources to help resolve the problem.”

He said The Bahamas will also voice its concern about the UNCHR’s procedures and the fact that there is “too much delay in making sure that these claims are adjudicated on a timely basis.”
Minister for Social Services and Community Development, Melanie Griffin will also attend the General Assembly.

On Tuesday, The Bahamas will become a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the U.N., joining Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Jamaica, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada.

Mrs. Griffin will sign the Convention on behalf of the government.

The Convention will be a precursor to the enactment of disability legislation in The Bahamas that is expected before the end of the year.

“This is part of what was promised in the Charter for Governance on which we were elected in May 2012,” Mr. Mitchell said.
Mrs. Griffin said this is a very significant and historic time for individuals with disabilities.

“This sets the stage for the upcoming legislation, which we expect to put before parliament very shortly and have passed before the end of the year. The Convention actually gives teeth to the legislation,” she said.

“This is very significant for The Bahamas because many of our sister countries in the region have signed on and so we’ll be joining them.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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