The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on the Bahamas to refrain from deporting Haitians.
The Bahamas, which is still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian on September 1, 2019, this month deported 112 Haitians.
The move came after Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis warned illegal migrants that they had the choice of either leaving voluntarily or being forced to leave.
As reported by CMC News, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called in a statement for the Bahamas to refrain from deporting individuals who lack documentation, without the individual assessments and due process guarantees to which they are entitled under international law.
It has been noted that many of the Haitians lived in informal settlements that were destroyed by the hurricane, losing their documents, jobs, and belongings.
Rights Bahamas has fully endorsed the call for the Bahamas government to suspend deportations to Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, according to Eyewitness News.
It quoted the Bahamas Human Rights group as saying in a statement that it is the height of irony that a country newly elected to the UN’s Human Rights Council should have to be dressed down in ‘this embarrassing fashion’ for its aggressive, inhumane and intolerant behavior in the face of a humanitarian crisis.
“We should be working to help all victims of the storm, not heaping further misery on those who are most vulnerable,” the statement quoted by Eyewitness News said.
Bahamian authorities had initially been quoted as saying that immigration enforcement activities would be suspended in the affected islands.
But it was observed that the position was publicly reversed at the end of September when it was announced that all migrants without valid documents would be apprehended and deported.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported last month that Haitians in the Bahamas are scorned and associated with illegal status, poverty, lack of education and violence.
Since Hurricane Dorian, social media fueled the fires of prejudice and bias. Posts denigrating Haitians and blaming them for looting and violence have been a frequent theme, according to an article in the publication.