UN experts urge The Bahamas to halt plans to demolish 600 homes in Abaco shantytown

UN experts urge The Bahamas to halt plans to demolish 600 homes in Abaco shantytown

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — United Nations human rights experts today called on the Bahamas to halt planned demolitions this week of approximately 600 homes at two informal settlements known as the Farm and the Farm Road in Abaco.

In a statement released this morning, the experts cited health and humanitarian concerns that “the community of largely Haitian descendants and migrants numbering up to 2,000 people, including many women and children, are at serious risk of becoming homeless as a result of the clearance expected to take place today”.

After placing final eviction notices on remaining shantytown homes in The Farm, Abaco, earmarked for demolition, the government is expected to tear down those unregulated structures today.

The UN experts include Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context; Michael Fakhri, Special Rapporteur on the right to food; Tlaleng Mofokeng, Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health; Felipe González Morales, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, ​​​​​​​​​​​​Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons; Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues; and Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

“The planned forced evictions and demolitions constitute a serious violation of the human right to adequate housing and will result in arbitrary internal displacement,” the experts said in a statement released today.

“To make things worse, this is scheduled to occur during the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening to expose an already vulnerable minority to all kinds of risks for their health and safety.

“Most of these people have nowhere else to go. If their homes are destroyed, they are at serious risk of falling into homelessness and extreme poverty. While it is important to move away from informal settlements lacking in safety and infrastructure, vulnerable minorities should not be left behind in the Government’s efforts to rebuild more resilient communities.”

In early September 2019, Hurricane Dorian ravaged several parts of the Bahamas islands, completely destroying several informal settlements on Abaco, where many Haitian migrants and Bahamians of Haitian origin used to live. After several months of living in evacuation shelters, many of the survivors had to completely rebuild their homes – it is these that the authorities intend to destroy.

In addition to the risk of becoming homeless, some migrants among the residents of the two informal settlements fear that they may be detained and deported, the UN experts said.

In recent years, there have been reports of undocumented migrants experiencing ill-treatment in detention, before being deported. Families have also been separated as a result.

“We urge the Government of the Bahamas to immediately cease further evictions and housing demolitions. Furthermore, we call on the Government to review its migration policy, which includes the widespread use of detention and expulsion of migrants,” the experts said.

The Supreme Court of the Bahamas has already granted court orders to halt evictions in informal settlements on the Bahamas’ main island New Providence.

“We urge the Bahamas to follow due legal process and respect existing judicial orders. This includes not only waiting for the outcome of the Supreme Court full review of the Government’s policy to demolish informal settlements, but also to ensure full adherence to international human rights standards governing relocations, evictions, and internal displacement.

“People living in informal settlements need to be consulted, receive security of tenure, and either be allowed to remain where they currently live – or if they need to be relocated for safety reasons – be properly rehoused and provided with access to water, sanitation, electricity and access to other essential public services.”

The UN human rights experts urged the Government of the Bahamas, which currently holds the Vice Presidency at the Human Rights Council, to ensure that its internal policies are implemented in full compliance with international human rights standards.

A judicial review of shantytown demolition before the Supreme Court has yet to be ruled on.

A total of 177 shantytown residents made the legal bid for the court to protect their homes.

An injunction was granted in 2018 protecting those homes from eviction, and from the homes being disconnected from services of demolished.

While counsel for the applicants has sought for the court to expand the injunction to cover all shantytown structures until the completion of the judicial review, at current the homes being demolished are not subject to the court matter — an argument Bannister has made to continue demolition of structures in The Farm and elsewhere.

However, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister has advised that 30 structures in the community will not be demolished.


So illegal activity is to be rewarded with rights . Well show me where Mr. Rajagopal and Mr. Fakhri living so I could go set up homestead on their property ! Always some foolishness to avoid dealing with the crux of the problem . If your ass illegal den you don’t have no right to land! Period. UN need to mind Dey own business and find somewhere for these ppl to go insteada practicing darkness.

They forgot the rights of Bahamians all together. We did not invite those people here, so why is the UN trying to force us to keep them here? Their statements sounds like it was written by members of that despicable lying group called rights bahamas

First the UN needs to check the country of origin and tell them bro provide all the things they are asking us to do First then get the hell out the way and they got lots of money and equipment send in two or three C 6 or 9 military transport aircraft, yes the UN has many and fly all these so called displaced people home easy or too easy then go tell FRANCE to not do the same that you are telling us not to do yes France their motherland. But the UN only can talk to small undeveloped nations like us because the developed nations tells them go F yourself right from the break in fact the go mute when this happens in a developed country, I don’t see or hear them in Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, did you see any of these egg sucking UN ers in the island of saint vincent to help any displaced persons. Tell them to just slide into hell and get out our BAHAMAS, UN is a vampire here to kill small developing states, leave just go.

You don’t have to say anything because if they stop giving you food during 2 weeks you won’t be able to be feeding yourself and your family,USA is your sponsor you can’t complain to anything he asks you to do,you don’t hate foreigners because by the grace of them Bahamas is becoming a living place ,and also,you don’t have to hate Haitian people,do not forget our history,we are all come from Africa,Haiti is great country

Yes Anthony, they forgot their history, tell them to consult their grandparents to explain them how Haiti helped them in the past. We used to give them food to survive

Das the attitude right there. I don’t understand how the disdain in your heart for the people for this Bahamland.. Are you contributing to the food security issues ? Made your NIB contributions or paid your property stamp tax? This is our country.. Persons slapback with the disparaging remarks but always press up here. Your historical testicular fortitude has grown dull. I don’t see no one in Haiti fighting so hard to improve their own country. Everyone fighting to overtake the Bahamas. We thank you for the food you gave our grandparents. Now when you go home we will return the favor, while our two week supply lasts.

Do not think you are better than haitian,Haitian people is suffering of political instability,we are a great people,we have a wonderful history,don’t matter how we are suffering now but no one can deny this great battle,November 18 of 1803,they divide us because they know how strong we are when we’re planning together,do not repeat anything about Haitian people,you have no problem with white people who is coming everyday in the Bahamas ,u know why? Just because they bring opportunity for you,that means without them you are nothing,don’t threat Haitian bad because we are poor,we are all African descendants,it means Africa is our mother land

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.

If the Bahamian gov. doesn’t follow where Almighty has led them, the whole island will suffer. The hurricane was meant for demolition or cleansing. Do something.

We call onthe great Human rights Organization assist These persons tp have a better life outside the Bahamas. Why fight the laws of The Bahamas for our brothers to continue to live in inhuman conditions in The Bahamas. Surley you can do better than this

Sir no one is undermining your great battle. We are simply saying repeat it . Conquer the government in your country in 2021. Assemble yourselves in the numbers you have and take your country in hand. Make it great again. Poverty exists first in the heart of a man. If you can’t speak up and stand up for what is yours then you will be poor. When you use your lack as a reason to continue to invade another man’s land, you will remain poor. When you live and glean all that you have from a ppl and what is theirs, yet still house enmity against that provider will remain poor.
You view the citizens of a country desirous of ridding the plague of illegal immigration not a citizenry hating a fellow black nation . We are expressing an urgency of being overrun by ppl from around the world . Your numbers just happen to be the largest. I’m not friend of any person who enters my country illegally and then demands to be given the same rights as the legal citizens of this sovereignty. A white face is no more accepted than a black one once its owner is here with our permission.
And you’re correct we’re all members of the African diaspora, however, lending a bag of sugar to your neighbor doesn’t preclude you to an encampment on his property. The motherland has taught us about each nation maintaining its boundaries and nationhood and the challenges with migration and clash of cultures. I am empathetic to your country’s state but you seem to forget that we as Bahamians are faced with our own share of issues . We are poor too when you look at the big picture (global). We can ill afford to continue to fling our gates open to daily illegal migrants from ANYWHERE! Our resources are quite finite. Open your eyes. Stop being selfish. Take up your rage and reclaim your own country.
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is also a great nation whose hospitality and propensity to assist others in need may lead to our country’s ultimate demise when the value of taking care (hospitals, schools, social services etc.), housing and feeding persons who make no formal contribution to the commonwealth of this nation on a daily basis goes unseen.

If we are going to make sure these imigrants abide by the law of the bahamas, they have to get their act together, we cant go in another country and do as we please, we cant buit house elligal, we will be put in prison, law is law, we didnt ask them to come here and break our law ,and yes the un needs to mind their own budiness, cause im sure they are not going to allowus to come in their vountry and built houses illegal

It isn’t that we aren’t sympathetic but as a Bahamian I can’t squat on land and build and I born here. What happen to the thousands of Bahamians displaced and their rights to what you all are expecting us to extend to illegals. Do you think we can go to their homeland and do the same. NO WE CANNOT. SO I

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