Categorized | National News


The government this past Friday invited commissioners from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to tour the detention center and other facilities.

This followed local activist group Rights Bahamas’ application for a hearing earlier this year. 

The group sat in sessions in Kingston, Jamaica with the goal of raising international awareness on the treatment of stateless individuals in the country, namely Haitian nationals. 

Right Bahamas President Stephanie St. Fleur opened her presentation with a video from two years ago displaying Bahamian Immigration officials dragging a naked woman put of her home. 

 She added that the woman was targeted for her heritage. 

“Regrettably, this kind of violent and abusive behaviour is typical.”, she said. 

“In November 2014 a new policy required all persons in The Bahamas to prove they had a legal right   to be in The Bahamas. This overwhelmingly targeted migrants and persons of Haitian descent.”, she added.

She explained that The Bahamas started mass raids targeting migrant communities of Haitian descent and often illegally arrested citizens, like the woman shown in the video, and legal residents. 
 This, she said, continues today.

 St.Fleur  said, “Immigration regularly engages in illegal road blocks of; those who appear ‘Haitian’. They are arrested and detained. They raid communities based on ethnic Haitian profiling.  The abuses extend to other nationalities as well.”

She added, “a terrible example is that of a   Jamaican woman. Claudia Bethel. She   has authorized us to use her name. She was married to a Bahamian. 
She had a valid residency visa. Despite this, in December 2014, she was illegally arrested in a police   raid and illegally detained by Immigration.” 

During the four  days she was in Immigration custody, Ms. St Fleur indicated that she was repeatedly raped by a senior Immigration officer. 

“The criminal rape charge was dismissed at preliminary inquiry and never went to trial. Her civil trial starts in  three  weeks.”, she added.

She also indicated that in at least five court cases,  The Bahamas has “illegally deported people born in The Bahamas.” 

Rights Bahamas Public Relation Director Paco Nunez explained the highlight of the session came from Commission President Margarette May Macaulay telling government representatives that being a migrant is not a reason to be held in detention, suggesting that the government stop.  

He added, “Rights Bahamas applauds the outcome of today’s hearing, and hopes the commissioners will schedule a trip soon.” 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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