In January, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights President Kerry Kennedy published “For immigrants trapped in The Bahamas, a paradise lost” in the Huffington Post after spending two days interviewing victims and human rights defenders in Nassau. She shed light on the inhumane conditions 700+ detainees experienced at Carmichael immigrant detention center, the country’s entrenched culture of gender discrimination, and harassment faced by human rights defenders. She also published an open letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Fred Mitchell, inviting him to work with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights on these issues. Mitchell released an official statement challenging the credibility of the victims’ stories and Robert F. Kennedy’s commitment to truth.
Undeterred, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is moving ahead with its work in The Bahamas this year to ensure that the voices of our partners there are amplified. We will continue to monitor the government’s implementation of protective measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for detainees at Carmichael and the impact of the immigration law passed in November 2014 that has had a discriminatory impact on Bahamians of Haitian descent. We will work with local partners on a civil society human rights workshop focused on women’s rights and gender equality. Finally, we will continue to observe and respond to the government’s attempts to limit civic space through surveillance and harassment of human rights defenders.
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights will continue to work with the people of The Bahamas and to engage the government of The Bahamas until “Paradise” truly lives up to its name.