Annual Report: Bahamas 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Bahamas 2013

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Commonwealth of the Bahamas

Head of state Queen Elizabeth II, represented by

Head of government Perry Gladstone Christie

At least six people were reportedly killed by police in disputed circumstances. Haitian migrants continued to face discrimination and forcible repatriation. One person remained on death row.

Background

In August, a Commission was established to review the Constitution and to address issues including strengthening fundamental rights and freedoms and the death penalty.

The Bahamas continued to face a worrying public security crisis. The homicide rate remained high, despite a 13% decrease in reported cases compared with 2011; 111 homicides were reported in 2012.

Death penalty

In August, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on all states in the region to “impose a moratorium on executions as a step toward the gradual disappearance of this penalty”. However, Prime Minister Christie reiterated his support for the death penalty and announced that a response would be submitted to the Commission.

  • One person, Mario Flower, was believed to remain on death row at the end of the year. He was sentenced to death in 2010 for the murder of a police officer.

Police and security forces

At least six people were reportedly killed by police in disputed circumstances and at least one man died in police custody. Reports of ill-treatment and excessive use of force by police continued. The conviction in June of a police officer for the death in custody of Desmond Key in 2007 was a rare instance of police being held to account for such abuses.

  • On 5 July, police shot Reno Rolle on New-Providence Island for no apparent reason in front of various witnesses. Reno Rolle, who reportedly has learning difficulties, sustained serious injuries to his kidney and pancreas.

Refugees and migrants

The Bahamas failed to comply with calls from the UN to stop all involuntary returns of Haitian nationals. In June, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti stated that “individuals returned to Haiti are vulnerable to human rights violations, especially the fundamental rights to life, health and family”.

Use of violence during arrests of irregular migrants continued to be reported.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

Discrimination against LGBTI people remained a concern. The government failed to establish a legal framework to protect LGBTI people from discrimination.

Violence against women and girls

In July, the CEDAW Committee expressed concern about the high prevalence of violence, including rape, and the persistence of domestic violence.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Bahamas: Legislative challenges obstruct human rights progress: Amnesty International submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review (AMR 14/001/2012)