Human rights group: Failed vote is a missed opportunity


Tribune Chief Reporter


HUMAN rights watchdog Amnesty International yesterday called the failed gender equality referendum a “missed opportunity” for reform.

The international agency insisted that human rights should not be determined by a vote, but protected by the state.

“The recent referendum in the Bahamas was a missed opportunity to enshrine greater protection for gender equality in citizenship matters in Bahamian law and to prohibit discrimination based on sex,” a statement from Amnesty said.

“The result puts at risk the citizenship rights of families, particularly children born into families with diverse nationalities or children born outside of the Bahamas to Bahamian parents.

“It also leaves women vulnerable to discrimination. Human rights should not be determined by a vote, but should always be protected by the state.”

Amnesty’s reaction comes after six major international agencies threw their support behind a “yes” vote last week.

In a joint statement, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UNICEF, UN Women, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) commended the Bahamas for holding the June 7 vote.

The groups projected that its success will impact reform efforts worldwide.

All four Constitutional Amendment Bills were overwhelmingly rejected by voters at the polls on Tuesday, according to the unofficial results released by the Parliamentary Registration Department.

The first bill one sought to give Bahamian women married to foreign men the right to pass on their Bahamian citizenship to any child of that union no matter where that child is born.

Bill two as written would have allowed a Bahamian woman married to a foreign man the right to secure for her husband the same access to Bahamian citizenship as a Bahamian male has in relation to his foreign wife.

Bill three sought to grant any unmarried Bahamian man the right to pass on his Bahamian citizenship to any child he fathers with a foreign woman with proof of paternity.

Bill four, regarded as the most controversial, sought to prevent discrimination of any type based on sex – being defined as being born male or born female.


justthefactsplease 6 years, 3 months ago

"Human rights should not be determined by a vote, but should always be protected by the state.” So...who makes up this "state"? Wouldn't that be the people who voted? Or are they implying that the "state'" is the bunch of incompetents in the House?


licks2 6 years, 3 months ago

I thought that according to international and local customary laws and "all" UN accords in a democratic nation. . .THE PEOPLE IS THE STATE. . .OUR CONSTITUTION. . .OUR LAWS. . .NEVER OUR GOVERNMENTS!! That statement did not come from UNHRC. . .I even doubt it came from AI. . .THEY KNOW THAT THE GOVERNMENT CAN NEVER CHANGE THOSE BILLS UNLESS BY THE VOTE!!!



banker 6 years, 3 months ago

Wiki Leaks Cable: US Embassy Feb 17, 2010:

Gender-based violence is a major problem affecting all areas of The Bahamas.

Statistics of the numbers of cases of both domestic violence and child abuse are not readily available. A United Nations report has ranked The Bahamas among the top nations in the world with domestic violence fatalities, referring to the 42 percent of murders in 2000 that fell under this classification.

Another UN report states that The Bahamas has the highest number of reported rapes (per 100,000) in the world.

Police report that more than fifty percent of homicides in 2001 were the result of domestic violence.

A hospital survey in 2000 to determine lifetime prevalence of domestic violence in females presenting to the accident and emergency department found that; forty percent reported physical abuse, twenty percent sexual abuse, and thirty-seven percent verbal and emotional abuse.

In June 2009, the Government proposed an amendment to the Sexual Offenses Act to prohibit marital rape. This was a giant leap in the fight for women's rights and equality; however, the outcry from many sections of this society was unprecedented.

This response demonstrated the misinformation that many Bahamians have been exposed to; many conservative elements opposed the Sexual Offenses Act on religious grounds. They argued that the marriage bed is sacred and undefiled according to the bible and such legislation will only cause dissension within many homes and communities while at the same time sending innocent men to jail as a result of "false accusations by vindictive women."

Bahamian women appear to be seen by many as having no rights over their bodies within the confines of marriage and are exposed to sexual and physical violence that is silenced by the social norms of a society, which sees the husband as having authority over the wife's body and encourages male sexual aggression thereby perpetuating violence against women.


sheeprunner12 6 years, 3 months ago

Now Wayne Munroe says he is going to assist gay couples in challenging our present Constitution on their right to marry in The Bahamas ......... sissies are rabid, sore losers ............. we are going to see a scorned LGBT throw the kitchen sink at God's elect now


newcitizen 6 years, 3 months ago

That is a very bigoted statement


ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

Gee by next week there will be about 1000 twists on this story.

The international agency insisted that human rights should not be determined by a vote, but protected by the state.

Why didn't they say this on Monday when they were giving the govt such high praise for having a referendum?

Heard someone else saying we should have voted yes because the no vote opened the door for gay marriage...seriously? They need to speak to Wayne Munroe, he said nothing prevented gay marriage before the referendum.


Canucksailor 6 years, 3 months ago

Sure, let's make certain the state protects these rights - because it's easier for organizations like Amnesty to make deals with politicians that ignore the wishes of the people who make up the state. Democracy isn't what these people, who feel they are much smarter than you are, want at all and a referendum helps keep the politicians honest. If the cause they espouse is just, let all these organizations make their pitch - and if they convince enough citizens, then it will come to pass as the will of the people...not that of organizations with agendas. Congratulations Bahamas - you've just shown yourself to be more of a democracy than my own country, Canada. You're listening to the will of the people. Now - a word of warning - once you enshrine equality, it's a very short step to saying that forbidding gay rights and the right to marriage for gays are discriminatory because then, gays aren't being treated equally. Hold the line, or I promise you, you'll find these issues at your doorstep, as we did in Canada in the 90s - and brought to us in almost exactly this same way.


sunshine242 6 years, 3 months ago

...these outsiders who seem to take pleasure in getting mixed up in other people business need to go an FU@% themselves and try using their toilets elsewhere. The people have spoken and we would like to move on to matters of importance ....


ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

In a weird way they've actually sided with Dame Joan. They've said what she said all along, the government didn't need to bring these issues to the people.


sheeprunner12 6 years, 3 months ago

This referendum shows either that our politicians are ignorant of the provisions to provide public policy in the Constitution or that they are wimps seeking a false sense of citizens' endorsement ....... Leaders are elected to LEAD not suck-up to the Church or the people to provide them with vision and direction .......... the PLP was given the mandate to lead but they seem reluctant to lead (and the FNM)............... I trust that in 2017 we elect a group of visionary leaders


John 6 years, 3 months ago

Some of the greatest victims of the referendum are young males and females who are or have struggling with their sexual identity They have been taught (from an early age) that homosexuality and lesbianism is wrong and they should refrain from it. Yes they have the urges but, like every sin, they are suppose to resist the urges, and even remain celibate if they have no attraction to the opposite sex. Now here comes a culture that says you are a human being and more importantly whatever sexual desires you have must not only be accepted by society, but legally protected. So they are now being told that what the church and their parents taught them was wrong and their feelings and desires (for same sex) is right..Marry another man if you want to or marry another female also is your desire. In fact they tell you that if you are a male and not satisfied in a male body, you can change it to a female body. Yet some 41% of persons who have sex change operations attempt suicide at one point or another, and over 80% regret having the operation. God has his plan worked out well in advance. There will be no marrying in heaven, and no giving in marriage, "for men will be like the angles," who have no sex or sexual desires. There will be no reproduction or the need to procreate. We struggle in this flesh body against worldly desires because it is in preparation for a better place and a better life. But the prince of the air, is doing as he did to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is telling you, there are no rules to follow and no consequences fro breaking the laws of God. Do as you want to do and be who you want to do he claims..and we follow his footsteps, yes even to the gates of hell. .5But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 7He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.…


John 6 years, 3 months ago

Last night some 350 young people left their homes for a Club in Orlando, Florida, USA. But today, some fifty of them will never return to their homes again. Never ever. That is because their corpses lay in some hospital morgue, dead. Never no more to see this life and to rest into eternity. Some 90 more young people lay in hospitals suffering from various injuries, mostly gunshot wounds. You see while they were out for a night or partying (some may say with the devil) Someone had other plans. He had loaded his vehicle with firearms and ammunition and was driving uptown, Florida, to attempt to play God. It was a gay and lesbian night club and he was attempting to punish these people for their sin. Apparently he had read the part of the bible that said 'man likin man or woman likin another woman' was a sin, but he missed the part, a commandment that said, "thou shalt not kill." Then there are plenty other parts of the bible that say things like, "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.or even,"Forgiveness …18If it is possible on your part, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20On the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing, you will heap burning coals on his head.”…or even." Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” It is God's job to judge, not manEmphasis*11For who among men knows the thoughts of man except his own spirit within him? So too, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.…Emphasis*


pablojay 6 years, 3 months ago

Dear John, the young man was a muslim, but i am not sure what the Koran says.


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