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Mitchell says Amnesty accepted abuse allegations ‘uncritically’

MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell in the House of Assembly.

MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell in the House of Assembly.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

ALTHOUGH immigration officials are still examining Amnesty International’s 2015 report into the state of human rights in this country, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said the organisation appears to have uncritically accepted allegations of abuse.

In a report released on Wednesday, Amnesty International raised concern about “excessive force” and “killings” at the hands of police officers and highlighted problems in this country’s criminal justice and immigration systems.

The annual report also covers human rights injustices in countries around the world.

In a statement to The Tribune yesterday, however, Mr Mitchell said: “(The report) is being examined by the ministry’s officials and taken seriously. At first blush, however, with the one example that has been used of a migrant who was injured during an operation in Eleuthera, it sounds like the usual pablum spun by the detractors of the Immigration Department ... but it seems to have been accepted uncritically by Amnesty.

“Nevertheless, a studied effort will be made to have a look at what it says in its entirety and we will respond appropriately if warranted.”

The Eleuthera incident involved 27-year-old Jean-Mary Justilien being shot by an officer during an immigration exercise in early June of last year.

The man was later airlifted to Princess Margaret Hospital.

He was then taken into custody on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and an immigration officer as they executed their duties. He was later cleared of the charges, but was deported from the country.

Police have said the shooting was accidental.

Amnesty’s report came against the backdrop of questions once again being raised about detention practices of the Bahamian government, with controversy erupting after two Cuban prisoners were released last week on a judge’s order after they were unlawfully detained for three years.

In its report, Amnesty said that in 2015 there were “allegations of arbitrary arrests and abuses against migrants,” adding that “impunity for allegations of police abuses remained the norm”.

Comments

GrassRoot 8 years, 2 months ago

The difference between the Amnesty International Report and Mitchells' reaction is, that the AI reports is being read internationally, and Mitchell's reaction is for the birds. "Perception is reality". No other minister is so actively involved in destroying the Bahamas' image as a tourist destination....

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birdiestrachan 8 years, 2 months ago

Amnensty International write reports of many Nations all things considered the Bahamas compared to other Nations do very well. We are not perfect. But they do appear to listen to only one side. And many Nations do not really care about what they say. I do believe the Outspoken QC has a lot to do with this report.

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tonymontana 8 years, 2 months ago

and there you have it ... the dodo bird has spoken

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Chucky 8 years, 2 months ago

It might not hurt, in fact it might more than like be good for The Bahamas to consider not just the perspective, but perhaps what's actually good for other people and their countries.

We may not be a wealthy nation, when you consider the general state of our economy, but we might still be able to some good things for the people of this world.

I think that all of our bickering over "our country" , "our laws" , "our rights" etc etc is actually damaging. What have we really every done for anyone in this world other than ourselves?

Even Kenya, who's GDP per capita ranks #30 in the worlds good countries ranking, their GDP per capita is about 1/10 of ours. We don't even rate on the list, we're a non mentionable country because our country, The Bahamas, has not been recognized to have done and significant measurable thing for another country in this world. Sure we've done our one hit wonders, a feed bag for Haiti when the earthquake hit, but we have no record of continual support for anyone or anything outside of our own country.

Something to think about, might even be enough to make one question how we can have any pride at all.

Perhaps our fearless leaders should have a look at Goodcountry.org and see if they can't figure out if they can get us in the rankings, even last place would be better than not being recognized.

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