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Commission Asks Bahamas Government To Act On Mistreatment Claims

Carmichael Road Detention Centre

Carmichael Road Detention Centre

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE Government has two weeks to adopt precautionary measures set by the Organisation of American States’ human rights commission over alleged conditions at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

The measures call for immediate action to ensure the life and physical integrity of people held in immigration detention, who are believed to be at risk due to alleged inhumane conditions during their detention, such as extreme overcrowding and the lack of appropriate medical attention.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued its mandate after analysing “factual and legal” arguments submitted in applications from three international human rights groups, adding that the government did not respond to its request for information last month.

According to the report, which was sent to the government on February 13, the IACHR has accepted the allegations as factual until proven otherwise. It also pointed out that the government has limited opportunities for human rights groups to visit the Carmivchael Road facility.

“In this sense,” the report read, “the lack of information from the State makes it impossible for the Commission to know of any measures implemented, and in general, the State’s position on the allegations made.

“The Commission considers that the requirement of seriousness is met,” the report continued, “due to, inter alia, the alleged inadequate infrastructure of the facility, the deficient medical attention received, the unsanitary conditions within the detention centre, as well as allegations of physical and psychological abuse.”

The report noted that conditions were exacerbated by extreme overcrowding, pointing to allegations that detainees are “given insufficient food with poor nutritional value, are deprived of access to clean drinking water, are not provided with clean clothes, are consistently denied adequate medical care and are held in dormitory buildings that are infested with mosquitoes, cockroaches, mice and rats.”

It added: “The Commission takes note of the alleged lack of measures to respond to the special situation of unaccompanied children.”

The IACHR received a request for the precautionary measures from the Caribbean Institute for Human Rights, the International Human Rights Clinic of the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico and the Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights on December 30.

The report referenced similar concerns and recommendations on conditions at Carmichael Road from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2012, and a UN Special Rapporteur in 2013.

The Commission has requested that the government “adopt the necessary measures to ensure the life and physical integrity of the persons in immigration detention at Carmichael Road Detention Centre; provide hygienic conditions and adequate medical treatment to the persons in the facility, according to their respective medical conditions; adopt the necessary measures to address the special situation of unaccompanied children, according to international standards; implement measures to ensure that legal assistance is available to all of the beneficiaries, including relevant information concerning their detention and applicable legal process; take immediate action to substantially reduce overcrowding within the CRDC”.

The Commission provided a 15-day time frame to adopt the measures, and also requested that the government provide updated information periodically. The report added that the government’s adoption of such measures will not constitute any prejudgement that the country has violated rights protected in the American Declaration of Rights and Duties of Man or any other applicable instrument.

Comments

birdiestrachan 6 years, 8 months ago

The Bahamas Government should seek some financial assistance from these organization. illegal immigration has been a huge drain on the resources of the Bahamas. The Countries of the illegals has no obligation to assist their people. Perhaps the organisation should visit Haiti and inquire about their Human Rights, That is where the root is.

The ambassador of Haiti and others should assist by providing some food.

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DonAnthony 6 years, 8 months ago

Instead of targeting children, perhaps we should start treating them humanely Mr. Mitchell. Time to clean up our act it is getting embarrassing.

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ispeakthetruth 6 years, 8 months ago

How are children being targeted? Sometimes poverty, and lack of funds, causes people to live in inhumane conditions. The detention center cannot afford to house all of the detainees. So what are they to do? Why is the international community pressuring this developing nation to do what their developed nations can easily, but are unwilling to, do. What is our alternative, release them all? However, when they return to the equally inhumane conditions of their shanty towns and continue to tax our very limited resources, there will not be a peep from the international community. Treat them "humanely" but just don't make them our problem is all they're saying. I can't take them seriously.

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DillyTree 6 years, 8 months ago

This is getting really embarassing for the Bahamas. No doubt Mr. Mitchell will dismiss these finding as "nonsense" as his arrogance normally does. No matter how we feel about illegals, they are still human beings and deserving of humane and decent treatment. If we cannot do this, then our own humanity is in serious doubt.

And as for finding money to feed/house/clothe those in the detention center, maybe Flyaway Fred should give up his travel budget and stay home to deal with more pressing issues than running around the world looking for new friends.

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RTStorm 6 years, 8 months ago

The government has two weeks to adopt these measures or else What?!?! What additional damage can these international pretenders do to the Bahamas that Fred Smith and Louby Georges have not foolishly done already? On the point of embarrassment … Really??? Embarrassing for whom – that class of boushey Bahamians who claim a monopoly on thought and civility??? What IS embarrassing are leaders with no backbone who cower in a corner each time international pretenders look at them sideways.

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GrassRoot 6 years, 8 months ago

the government has to do what it has to do, nothing wrong with that. However they should have done this right from the beginning. They chose to cut corners, they get presented the tab now.

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milliondollargirl 6 years, 8 months ago

As said these people are humans also.

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Emac 6 years, 8 months ago

The problem we face here is that when illegals enter the Bahamas' borders they become the responsibility of the state. The reality is that the Bahamian people CANNOT afford to meet the basic needs of the huge amount of illegals that enter our country. It takes money to house them, fed them and make sure that each get proper medical attention. I too agree that illegals should be treated humanely? But define being treated humanely? Should we have a limousine pick them up from the riggetty boat that they used to sail through rough waters to get to the Bahamas? Should we offer them a five course meal upon arrival at the Detention Centre? Give em bed and breakfast? The cold fact is the Bahamian people CANNOT afford to tend to this magnitude in the way that is demanded by these so called human rights group.

You have a certain group that is complaining but none of them is giving alternatives. I have never read an article where those who are complaining about the treatment of immigrants, go into their pockets, write a cheque and give it to the Bahamian people to defray the cost of attending to these illegals. I would also bet my bottom dollar that the Bahamians that are complaining that the Bahamas Immigration is being inhumane are the first ones that would leave this country if some outbreak occurs or a highly contagious disease hit our shores. They would probably be the first to complain about the government NOT protecting the borders or not protecting Bahamians.

The hardcore fact is that the Bahamas is not America or Canada. These countries have the resources to deal with illegals "humanely". The Bahamas, on the other hand, already has many BAHAMIANS who can't even afford to live in the conditions that are being demanded by these so called human rights organizations. Where is the balance? Who is making contributions to the Bahamas to help take care of these uninvited illegals? What is being done to address the problems of stopping the many Haitians from leaving their country in the first place, so that they don't have to deal with "inhumane" treatment. Is it humane to take a one year old child on an over crowded boat to sail across treacherous seas? Who is the real perpetrator of committing inhumane acts? Isn't it the Haitian government? If you are gonna question the Bahamas government about inhumane treatment, then ya better continue your questioning down south.

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Cas0072 6 years, 8 months ago

People always conveniently miss the fact that The Bahamas is a small, third world country as well. Some of us like to pretend that the country has the resources to do this and that, but the expenses and the lack of finances to do basic things is very telling. I don't believe for an instant, that any administration whether FNM or PLP, would intentionally withhold food and other basic amenities from people just for sport. You are correct. As a country we struggle to supplement basic needs of our own poor local populations and not because it is fun to watch. Where is the OAS to speak on that and the conditions of people living in the shanty towns? It is easy to write reports, especially using second hand information while failing to also acknowledge the possible root causes, or providing ideas on how to carry out these actions that they valiantly suggest. Where are the true humanitarian organizations that actually help people out by extending charity instead of drafting documents that will only intensify tensions.

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GrassRoot 6 years, 8 months ago

yes we don't have much resources, but the subsequent Governments have chosen to waste the resources and channel of it into their crony systems. They have done everything possible to divide and conquer the Bahamian society. And have won. We don't stop anymore if someone needs help along the street, as we are afraid of getting robbed, we ignore the sick and underprivileged, and we consider ourselves poor and needy while driving around in a car and watching cable TV at home. The sad part of all this is, if you don't want to treat the illegals humanely that is one decision, but we don't even treat our own poor and sick humanely. We don't need foreign resources to help here, we need to start with ourselves. Now, today, tomorrow, next week, whoever needs help we should help, because we can.

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birdiestrachan 6 years, 8 months ago

Those who are embarrassed may remain so. There is no organization on earth that can make me embarrassed about my Beloved Bahamas. We are not perfect. and other Countries have their own problems. There is no HEAVEN on earth. Don Anthony and Dilly tree. it is Fred Smith who should put his money where his mouth is he can donate food items for his Haitian brothers and sisters also the Haitian embassy,, Mr. Mitchell represents the Bahamian people. and he is within his right to travel and to represent the Bahamas.

The Government has not targeted children. Their parents must have some responsibility for their own children. Do these organizations have any solutions for illegal Immigration, or do they only find faults. It seems to me it is some what like a party where one come uninvited , and when their is not sufficient food one complains. The Bahamas does not have the resources, to absorb all of the illegals and the Haitian Government should help their own people.

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Economist 6 years, 8 months ago

We are an independent nation. Independent nations have to comply with international rules, it goes with being independent.

The IMF told us to introduces VAT, so we complied. The international community told us to change our banking system in the early 2000"s, so we complied. The WTO said that we could no longer have the advantages under LOME and that we had to enter into a new agreement with Europe, the EPA, so we complied. The US said that we had to agree to FATCA, so we complied.

They are telling us to fix the detention center, so get on with it and comply.

Being big or small has noting to do with anything. We wanted independence and it comes with rules. Get on with it.

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DillyTree 6 years, 8 months ago

Well said, Economist! People want all the freedom, and flag-waving patriotic stuff, but don't want the responsibility that comes with being independent.

And Birdie, if I actually thought the government would use my money to make the lives of those in the detention center better, I would happiliy donate -- just as I do to several well-known (and accountable) Bahamian charites. Unfortunately, our current governement believes it is totally unaccountable to the Bahamian people on so many matters. The current government spends far too much with far too little accountablility. Flyaway Fred's travel budget alone would no doubt go a long way to fixing the problem.

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Emac 6 years, 8 months ago

I tell you what Economist: First get your Haitian government to comply with all of these treaties, then we will follow suit. "The IMF told us to introduces VAT, so we complied. The international community told us to change our banking system in the early 2000"s, so we complied"

No policy is really that cut and dry. Realistically, as an independent nation, we do not have to do anything that will adversely effect Bahamians. Sure we signed on to be a part of these organizations. But there are always alternatives to what is demanded. Further, As Cas0072 mentioned above, " It is easy to write reports, especially using second hand information while failing to also acknowledge the possible root causes, or providing ideas on how to carry out these actions that they valiantly suggest" So why are you clowns even agreeing with an outside organization without getting your own proof. It is easy to sit from your comfort of your home and babble bullshit.

When one really looks at the response of certain commenters here though, one can deduce two things:Some of you dislike Fred and the PLP,so you will bitch no matter what. The others that have Haitian roots will always want everything to be handed to Illegal HAITIANS on a platter, no matter how unreasonable. Again, as a law abiding citizen of the Bahamas, I don't care what the international organizations are saying Let them help resolve the root of the problem then they can talk.
But as a tax paying Bahamian, here is what I have to say about all of this: DON'T BRING YA ASS HERE ILLEGALLY IF YA DON'T WANT BAD TREATMENT. SIMPLE!

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Economist 6 years, 8 months ago

As an Independent nation we HAD TO CHANGE OUR BANKING SYSTEM AND THAT ADVERSLY AFFECTED BAHAMIANS, look at all the good paying jobs lost in the banking sector. We HAD TO ENTER INTO THE EPA, ask some Bahamians how that messed up their business. WE HAD TO INTRODUCE VAT, if you were reading the IDB website two years ago you would see that they set the time table. ARE YOU SAYING THAT VAT DOES NOT ADVERSLY AFFECT BAHHAMIANS?

I don't care about the politicians and have never cared for politics. I am only interested in us, as a nation, and feel that the more we understand the realities of being an independent nation the better we will be able to deal with our duties as an independent nation.

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RTStorm 6 years, 8 months ago

As an independent nation we don’t HAVE to do anything to comply with demands from international organizations. We are just that: Independent, and a choice and free-will, will always exist. Some would say this comes with a price – then so be it. Survival lessons only build strength and respect; Cuba is a prime example. What you are describing here are shameful examples of a weak government of an independent nation succumbing to selfish demands of outside organizations, to the detriment of its citizens. This is nothing to be proud of. When the overall destruction of these actions are complete (some we are seeing already eg., the shrinkage of the Financial Services sector, unending job loss and the exorbitant rise in the cost of living); History will not judge these governments (PLP & FNM) favorably.

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GrassRoot 6 years, 8 months ago

under what rock are you living?

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RTStorm 6 years, 8 months ago

At first I believed it was the same rock you call home - but apparently you’re from the Rock down South. That explains plenty.

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Emac 6 years, 8 months ago

@Economist- Of course VAT and the bank tado had or is having an adverse affect on Bahamians. But did you hear me say the government responded the right way in regards to these two policies???????? There were other alternatives that the government of the Bahamas overlooked! Now, back to this illegal migration situation, I say, the Bahamian people CANNOT afford to take care of EVERY illegal immigrant that wanders onto OUR shores. SOoooooooooooo, therefore, these organizations are talking FCK! You cannot get 5star treatment when you enter other people country ILLEGALLY. And, If ya don't like being treated "inhumanely", then DO NOT ENTER THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY!

Further, if these organizations really want to be effective in their quests, then (A) step in and help stop the flow of illegals that enter our country, and complain if they don't like the way these illegals are being treated when they are detained or (B) Make some monetary contributions to the Bahamian people to help pay for the cost to detain these illegals "humanely and complain if they don't like the way these illegals are being treated when they are detained. So you see, only options A or B are applicable. Don't sit your arse back and complain without getting involved with the solution.

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Emac 6 years, 8 months ago

"I don't care about the politicians and have never cared for politics. I am only interested in US, as a nation." That is laughable. People that are born in the Bahamas are called Bahamians not Haitians. You are referring to HAITIANS when you use the word US. That is quite evident in all of your comments. Stop pretending and come out like Fred Smith: Tell us y'all want to slowly slip in and get yinna piece a der pie too, even doe yinna sneak in we country.

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Economist 6 years, 8 months ago

Bulla, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I just mentioned a few items. Only 15 years ago we were saying that on interisland flights passengers would did not need to be screened. ICAO said that we had too. Looks to me like we complied. And My Friend, we have a lot more changes coming.

Of course I am not Haitian, but then you knew that. Lashing out as you do will not change anything. Lots of new laws are being forced on The Bahamas over the next two or three years. Maybe you need to find somewhere to hide from reality.

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Economist 6 years, 8 months ago

Man generalcrazy, please don't say they are "prisoners of war" because we would then have to comply with the "Geneva Convention". Yup, the world has rules for that too.

You see independence requires compliance with world rules.

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Economist 6 years, 8 months ago

No, but then we probably would not have this problem in the first place. Take a look at Cayman and Turks & Cacaos.

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DEDDIE 6 years, 8 months ago

The whole exercise by Fred Mitchel was done for publicity and now he has gotten tons of it.If you are going to violate someone's human rights even the dumbest dictators know you do it in secret.

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ispeakthetruth 6 years, 8 months ago

Fred Mitchell has gotten tons of international press and he is handling it very well. More and more, he is proving that he has the mental toughness needed to lead and to engage in international politics. He is not cowering to American pressure, a.k.a the OAS, and the implied effects on our tourism industry. Fred Mitchell and the department of immigration does not seek to do anything in secret because there is clearly nothing to hide. Plain and simple: we cannot afford the number of illegal immigrants that has been imposed on us. And while we bared this burden for decades, the OAS, the US and the UN were perfectly fine with the conditions of Haitian immigrants in their shanty towns that are even less humane than the reported conditions of the detention center. So don't be fooled by this BS report! The OAS, the US and others have deemed this a Bahamian problem, and they couldn't care less about the plight of the "poor" Haitian. If they did, now is the time to prove it...but I would not put any money on it, to be honest. They simply don't care. This will remain a Bahamian issue to deal with, and we should handle it in terms of what is best for the country.

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GrassRoot 6 years, 8 months ago

well I think he made an ass out of himself, by allowing his subordinates to screw up the execution of his political vision of the Bahamas getting rid of illegals. So much for his leadership skills. Fred Mitchell will cower, any time of the day if it helps him to climb up the latter. No one says Haiti is a Bahamian problem. We ourselves made it a Bahamian problem not to send them home when they came. We made a buck or two by exploiting these people for too long, now we pay a political price.

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GrassRoot 6 years, 8 months ago

and someone to tell this man, that regular smiling extends your life expectancy.

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ispeakthetruth 6 years, 8 months ago

Clearly the world thinks illegal Haitians flocking to the Bahamas is a Bahamian issue...I never said Haiti! None of the world powers, or humanitarian organizations care enough to address the root causes of illegal migration by Haitians. Even this so called human rights organization "validated" inhumane treatment and walked away! Actually they did not even take the time to visit. I don't have the benefit of wearing blinders. So I cannot overlook the starring role the illegal Haitians have in all of this. So, for me, there is only one rational conclusion.

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Emac 6 years, 8 months ago

Economist, you are a barrel of laugh. Your rhetoric is becoming quite boring. You keep sayin the same thing over and over again, when in fact you really want to see your people integrate in the Bahamian society at all cost. Once again, your solution:

*"I would consider granting citizenship to those who have been here over twenty years and are making a valuable contribution to our society. Thirdly, I would consider granting residence, with the right to work in the business for which they are trained or skilled to those who had been here for over fifteen years and can show a connection with the country (Bahamian wife or husband with or without children). For those who have lived here for over ten years I would consider granting a work permit. Again they would also have to show a connection with the country (husband /wife)."

So you see? You will always be against anything that does NOT allow illegal HAITIANS to live in this country. So cut the drama and stop pretending

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Economist 6 years, 8 months ago

Well as they say "ignorance is bliss". Enjoy your bliss.

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