Who yinner think is paying Fred to keep attacking the Bahamas?!
(Statement) The Bahamas’s failure to become a member of the UN Human Rights Council should serve as a reminder to government that as our human rights standards continue to deteriorate, the world is indeed watching, the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association said.
The GBHRA called the country’s failure to attract sufficient votes from other member states unfortunate, but reiterated its stance that the government should turn its attention to rights abuses at home before it seeks to police the rest of the world.
“The failed bid is lamentable, in that it reflects poorly on The Bahamas on the international scene. At the same time, we believe the effort to join the council in the first place was nothing but a cynical ploy on the part of government desperate to deflect attention from its record on human rights at home, which sadly leaves much to be desired,” said GBHRA president, Fred Smith Q.C.
The decision to seek a seat on the council came as the government continued to face pressure from human rights advocates, both at home and abroad, over its record on human rights – particularly in terms of the harsh and much-criticized new immigration policy, launched one year ago.
“The GBHRA is of the view that The Bahamas’ treatment of migrants – including detention and deportation without due process, steps taken to deny children of migrants access to education, police brutality, and cases such as the recent one of Jamaican Matthew Sewell, detained for nine years in hellish prison conditions without having been convicted of a crime –are just a few examples of why The Bahamas should rightly be considered unfit for such a post at this time.
“This is not to mention the government’s continued flagrant failure to enact a Freedom of Information Act which would open it up to public scrutiny like the majority of the world’s governments and ensure that the Bahamian public’s human right – to public information – is upheld and respected,” said Smith.
With its campaign to win the seat over, the GBHRA said it hopes the government will turn much needed attention to addressing these critical issues.
“We continue to hope for a day when The Bahamas will rightly be able to take a seat at this institution and make pronouncements on the human rights failings of others with integrity,” Smith said.