Bahamas has failed in its attempt to become the first English-speaking Caribbean nation to sit on the United Nations Human Rights Council.
During the recent voting, 113 out of 192 countries voted for The Bahamas, but it was not sufficient to secure the seat.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Fred Mitchell said “we were not successful but the team put in a valiant effort for which they are to be commended, especially having joined the campaign some six weeks ago”.
“We thank the 113 out of 192 countries that voted for The Bahamas,” he said.
Seats were secured by Panama, Ecuador and Venezuela.
In a statement issued subsequently, the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association (GBRHA) said the country’s failure should serve as a reminder to government that the world is watching as the Bahamas’ human rights standards continue to deteriorate.
The GBHRA said the inability of the Bahamas to get sufficient votes was unfortunate, but reiterated its stance that the government should turn its attention to rights abuses at home before it seeks to police the rest of the world.
The association said instances of bad treatment of migrants — including detention and deportation without due process, steps taken to deny children of migrants access to education, police brutality, and cases such as the recent one of Jamaican Matthew Sewell, detained for nine years in hellish prison conditions without being convicted of a crime — are just a few examples of why The Bahamas should be considered unfit for such a post at this time.
“This is not to mention the government’s continued flagrant failure to enact a Freedom of Information Act, which would open it up to public scrutiny like the majority of the world’s governments and that the Bahamian public’s human right to public information is upheld and respected,” said GBHRA president, Fred Smith Q.C.