Over 800 Bahamians sought asylum abroad in 2018

More than 800 Bahamians sought asylum or refuge in another country in 2018, according to a recent United Nations (UN) report.

Attorney General Carl Bethel said that he has heard reports that Bahamians who have sought asylum in other countries are doing so on the basis of homophobia in The Bahamas.

The report, Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2018, was released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) last month.

It showed that 388 Bahamians sought asylum and 418 were refugees in other countries by the end of 2018.

In 2017, 378 Bahamians were refugees and 236 sought asylum in other countries, the UN report showed.

Bethel said, “They would argue that there were homophobic issues and they felt unsafe.

“I don’t know the extent of the refugee population who have left The Bahamas to take asylum in other countries and unfortunately there’s never any consultation with this country.”

He continued, “So, persons, in order to get asylum, will raise issues that seem to put The Bahamas in a very bad light but The Bahamas is never given the opportunity to respond.”

Bethel said he has no concern over the increase in the number of Bahamians who have sought asylum in other countries.

“There is not a concern about it in the sense that we have no knowledge of what are being called Bahamians seeking refuge,” he said.

“For example, are they persons who are entitled to be Bahamians by birth in The Bahamas but haven’t been regularized? Are they passport-carrying Bahamian citizens? We don’t know. The difficulty with migration issues is that there apparently isn’t even the practice of informing the home country.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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