IACHR calls on Bahamas to improve conditions at detention center

NASSAU, Bahamas, Feb 21, CMC – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is calling on the Bahamas government to implement a number of recommendations to facilitate improved conditions for persons detained at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

The IACHR said that in December last year, it had received a request for precautionary measures submitted by the Caribbean Institute for Human Rights, the International Human Rights Clinic of the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights requesting that it call on the Bahamas government to adopt measures to protect the life and physical integrity of the persons in immigration detention at Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

“According to the request, the proposed beneficiaries are at risk due to, inter alia, the alleged inhumane conditions of detention, extreme overcrowding and the lack of appropriate medical attention that could affect their right to life and physical integrity.”

The IACHR said that after “analyzing the factual and legal arguments presented by the applicants” it considers that the information presented demonstrates “prima facie that the persons in immigration detention at Carmichael Road Detention Center appear to be in a serious and urgent situation, that places their lives and physical integrity at risk”

The Commission said consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission requests that The Bahamas ‘’adopt the necessary measures to ensure the life and physical integrity of the persons in immigration detention at Carmichael Road Detention Centre”.

The Commission is also urging Nassau to “provide hygienic conditions and adequate medical treatment to the persons in the facility, according to their respective medical conditions” as well as “adopt the necessary measures to address the special situation of the unaccompanied children, according to international standards”.

In addition, the IACHR ants the Bahamas government to “implement measures to ensure that legal assistance is available to all of the beneficiaries, including relevant information concerning their detention and applicable legal process” and to “take immediate action to substantially reduce overcrowding within Carmichael Road Detention Centre”.

The IACHR said that it also wanted Nassau to “investigate the facts that gave rise to the adoption of these precautionary measures in order to avoid their repetition; and ensure that civil society organizations and relevant international organizations have access to the Carmichael Road Detention Center for the purpose of monitoring detention conditions”.

In recent months, the Bahamas government has come under criticism for its immigration policy that requires non-nationals to show evidence that they have permission to live or work in the country.
But human rights group here say they intend to challenge legally the new legislation tabled by the Perry Christie government that came into effect on November 1 last year.