0

Government Says Detention Centre Report Is 'Inaccurate' And 'Strains Credibility'

Carmichael Road Detention Centre

Carmichael Road Detention Centre

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Government regarded allegations supported in a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) as "overstated and inaccurate", in a statement released yesterday.

The statement indicated that the IACHR's decision to issue precautionary measures over alleged conditions at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre appeared to be "prejudicial", adding that the report also referenced concerns that have already been addressed.

It was also revealed that a report commissioned by a panel headed by a former Justice of The Bahamas Court of Appeal about the conditions at the Detention Centre has been completed, and the government is addressing recommendations within the Immigration Department's resources.

"At first blush," the statement read, "it is unfortunate that the report appears to have adopted the narrative of the various human rights groups and press-based advocates that are not based in fact. Many of its assertions are based on untested tendentious, anecdotal material.

"In the face of these inaccuracies, it is difficult to accept any conclusions which flow from this decision of the Commission. It simply strains credibility. The decision is not helpful in resolving the issues which are confronted by illegal migrants to The Bahamas and comes off as prejudicial."

The IACHR, the principal autonomous agency of the Organization of American States, issued its mandate on February 13 after analysing "factual and legal" arguments submitted in applications from three international human rights groups. The IACHR report indicated that the government had not responded to its request for information sent on January 15 to date.

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

The IAHCR 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 allegations were based on interviews with seven women and eight men detained at the Carmichael Road facility in November.

Among the concerns raised, it was alleged that no special considerations are given for women and children detained at the Detention Centre. However, the government last year established a separate facility to house illegal migrant families with children.

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

Yesterday's statement confirmed the government's receipt of the IACHR report and indicated that the document was under review. A diplomatic note on the government's considered response to allegations and recommendations will be dispatched shortly, according to the statement.

The statement read: "The assertions in the decision also appear to be related to facts which do not exist now and some of them did not exist at the time the allegations were made. In particular, we think, is the false narrative about the treatment of certain children.

"The government again states that it is committed to maintaining the highest standards in any of its detention facilities in The Bahamas and works continuously at achieving those standards within the level of resources that are available," it added.

Comments

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. Do as they say.

We wanted independence and it comes with rules. Get on with it.

1

GrassRoot 6 years, 8 months ago

I assume you believe that is what the Government should say to IMF, WTO, EPA, FATCA, AI etc. So why does the Government not say this to these organisations?

0

Economist 6 years, 8 months ago

Newsflash, we have already done this, welcome to reality.

0

DEDDIE 6 years, 8 months ago

When Amnesty International issued a report on Fox Hill Prison the public was also nonchalant about its' state. Even though we are aware of the conditions that exist at our facilities, its sad that we simply don't care.

0

ispeakthetruth 6 years, 8 months ago

It's not that we simply don't care. We, I'm betting you do to, generally concede that these persons, victimless criminals or not, are responsible for getting themselves in the situation that left them subject to the harsh conditions at Fox Hill prison. Why wouldn't the same attitudes apply here? Whenever there is limited resources choices have to be made. It's not reasonable to complain about the national debt and at the same time expect unlimited funding to do everything that needs to be done. So which area do you think should funding be reduced to facilitate these upgrades...education, health, defense?

I think if the report is accurate, and I doubt some of it, improvements have to be made, but not according to their suggestions unless they provide the funds. The detention center, if people continue to stay there long term, should operate like a prison. The detainees should be provided with department of immigration apparel, a visiting nurse should have set hours, and the detainees themselves should be responsible for the cooking, cleaning and laundry. Anything above and beyond that including legal representation should be provided by family, friends and volunteers.

0

GrassRoot 6 years, 8 months ago

I said it on this thread some weeks ago, it is a PR disaster for the Bahamas. At this stage it does not even matter whether, what and to what extent an allegation is true or not. The dirt, whatever it is, and whoever it throws will stick. Poor planning by this Government, worse even the execution. Fred has definitely some egg on his face.

0

Andrewharris 6 years, 8 months ago

The centre needs a massive upgrade no doubt about that but we have a other facilities that need it more. Stop the inhumane treatment to detainees. Polish up the image asap. Not for the international community but for our own national sense of pride and integrity. All else will fall into place.

0

Economist 6 years, 8 months ago

Each country is required to pay the cost. Look at the financial pressure that, Turkey and Jordan are under with the millions of refugees from Syria. We are no different.

The best way for us to reduce the cost is to stop them before we get here. That would be a lot cheaper. Since they are economic refugees we can turn them back.

Sadly, once we have allowed them to get here they become our responsibility. And once they have been allowed to stay, for an extended period, they gain certain rights.

0

Sign in to comment