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Letter: Bahamas: Shocking images of child injured in illegal immigration crackdown

 

Injured – in Immigration fracas

Dear Sir:

Shocking and appalling images have surfaced of a young child who suffered severe facial injuries during an aggressive Immigration apprehension exercise in North Andros, The Bahamas.

These images highlight just one of several violent incidents and human rights abuses that have been reported to activists as a result of the state’s illegal immigration crackdown and unconstitutional deadline of December 31 for all undocumented migrants to leave the country.

According to eye witnesses, the incident took place on Tuesday, November 21, when an Immigration Department vehicle carrying armed officers in military fatigues began chasing a civilian pickup truck carrying several individuals in the rear bed.

This behaviour on the part of the Immigration officers was totally illegal, as they sought to curtail the constitutional right to freedom of movement of the occupants of the vehicle, without a legal warrant and without any probable cause.

Frightened by the aggressive and illegal action of the officers, the driver sought to escape, resulting in a mother and her young child falling from the truck and sustaining injuries, the severities of which remain unknown. They were taken to a local clinic where, according to witnesses, they were detained by the Immigration officers.

 

The child, having been born in The Bahamas, has a constitutional right to be registered as a citizen upon her 18th birthday. Her detention and eventual deportation therefore represent a gross violation of her constitutional rights.

The incident echoes the 2014 shooting of suspected undocumented migrant Jean Marie Justilien, who likewise fled in fear when armed and aggressive Immigration officers chased him. He was later summarily deported without due process, in time for the state to avoid facing a hearing on the shooting.

Another violent incident was reported to Rights Bahamas this morning, in which yet another aggressive Immigration raid on a residential community resulted in a detained woman being repeatedly slapped by a female Immigration officer. The incident took place in the Faith Avenue area of New Providence Island.

Over the last three years, the Bahamas Immigration Department has become increasingly violent and intimidating in their enforcement exercises, employing nighttime raids and roadblocks which the Supreme Court of The Bahamas has declared unconstitutional.

Rights Bahamas once again urges the state, in the strongest possible terms, to cease and desist from this reckless and dangerous course before any further human rights violations take place.

We also call upon the state to release all minors who have a right to be registered as citizens of The Bahamas, along with their legal guardians, until a human and legal solution to their situation can be found.

Rights Bahamas will continue to report to its international partners on this developing human rights crisis.

Rights Bahamas

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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017

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Injured – in Immigration fracas

Dear Sir:

Shocking and appalling images have surfaced of a young child who suffered severe facial injuries during an aggressive Immigration apprehension exercise in North Andros, The Bahamas.

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These images highlight just one of several violent incidents and human rights abuses that have been reported to activists as a result of the state’s illegal immigration crackdown and unconstitutional deadline of December 31 for all undocumented migrants to leave the country.

According to eye witnesses, the incident took place on Tuesday, November 21, when an Immigration Department vehicle carrying armed officers in military fatigues began chasing a civilian pickup truck carrying several individuals in the rear bed.

This behaviour on the part of the Immigration officers was totally illegal, as they sought to curtail the constitutional right to freedom of movement of the occupants of the vehicle, without a legal warrant and without any probable cause.

Frightened by the aggressive and illegal action of the officers, the driver sought to escape, resulting in a mother and her young child falling from the truck and sustaining injuries, the severities of which remain unknown. They were taken to a local clinic where, according to witnesses, they were detained by the Immigration officers.

 

The child, having been born in The Bahamas, has a constitutional right to be registered as a citizen upon her 18th birthday. Her detention and eventual deportation therefore represent a gross violation of her constitutional rights.

The incident echoes the 2014 shooting of suspected undocumented migrant Jean Marie Justilien, who likewise fled in fear when armed and aggressive Immigration officers chased him. He was later summarily deported without due process, in time for the state to avoid facing a hearing on the shooting.

Another violent incident was reported to Rights Bahamas this morning, in which yet another aggressive Immigration raid on a residential community resulted in a detained woman being repeatedly slapped by a female Immigration officer. The incident took place in the Faith Avenue area of New Providence Island.

Over the last three years, the Bahamas Immigration Department has become increasingly violent and intimidating in their enforcement exercises, employing nighttime raids and roadblocks which the Supreme Court of The Bahamas has declared unconstitutional.

Rights Bahamas once again urges the state, in the strongest possible terms, to cease and desist from this reckless and dangerous course before any further human rights violations take place.

We also call upon the state to release all minors who have a right to be registered as citizens of The Bahamas, along with their legal guardians, until a human and legal solution to their situation can be found.

Rights Bahamas will continue to report to its international partners on this developing human rights crisis.

Rights Bahamas