The United States warmly welcomes the Bahamian delegation.
We commend the Bahamas for taking important steps to improve human rights in the country, including enforcement of the Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act of 2007.
We applaud the Bahamas for responding, without delay, to concerns raised by several special rapporteurs and civil society representatives of poor conditions at the Carmichael Road Detention Center. However, civil society groups continue to report claims from detainees that access to basic necessities and medical care was restricted and that physical abuse by detention center officers was common.
While we appreciate the Bahamas’ stated commitment to continue its efforts to combat all forms of discrimination, credible reports of harassment and violence against members of marginalized populations continue to surface, particularly against Haitian migrants and LGBT individuals.
We commend the Bahamas for holding a trafficking awareness event in March 2012, standing up a task force to handle specific allegations of human trafficking, and establishing protocols to guide officials in handling trafficking cases. However, the Bahamian authorities have yet to identify or assist any victims of trafficking or initiate any prosecutions against forced labor or sex trafficking.
The United States makes the following recommendations:
1. Review existing conditions of the Carmichael Road Detention Center with input from independent observers to bring conditions up to international standards and investigate allegations of physical abuse by detention officers;
2. Adopt legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and reinforce existing constitutional provisions that prohibit discrimination based on race and national origin;
3. Coordinate with NGOs to ensure effective implementation of formal procedures to guide police and relevant government officials on how to identify victims of forced labor and forced prostitution among vulnerable groups, refer them to available services, and actively pursue traffickers.