Advanced

Review of Asylum Policies and Procedures in The Bahamas: Are Current Policies and Procedures Consistent with International Instruments for the Protection of Refugees?

Moss, Deneisha (2006)
Department of Law
Abstract
Volatile conflicts, poverty and suppression of basic human rights stemming from one's political or religious affiliations, gender and race, are some of the various reasons why thousands flee home in the hopes of finding some kind of security. As the world observes the appalling deterioration of conflicts in Western Sudan, Iraq and Haiti, we simultaneously observe neighbouring or developed countries securing their borders in an effort to prevent an influx of refugees on to their territories. We have seen wealthy nations invest in costly technology to detect illegal immigrants and impede all efforts to access their territory. Such deterrent strategies are crystallized through non-entrée or protective entry policies, which may take several... (More)
Volatile conflicts, poverty and suppression of basic human rights stemming from one's political or religious affiliations, gender and race, are some of the various reasons why thousands flee home in the hopes of finding some kind of security. As the world observes the appalling deterioration of conflicts in Western Sudan, Iraq and Haiti, we simultaneously observe neighbouring or developed countries securing their borders in an effort to prevent an influx of refugees on to their territories. We have seen wealthy nations invest in costly technology to detect illegal immigrants and impede all efforts to access their territory. Such deterrent strategies are crystallized through non-entrée or protective entry policies, which may take several forms including&semic i) off-shore processing, ii) visa requirements and iii) interception at sea. From Europe to the Americas, governments are working diligently to keep ''illegal immigrants'' out. James Hathaway has argued that such 'restrictionist practice' by Western States effectively threaten the viability of international refugee protection Virag Katalin&semic Towards a Progressive Reading of International Refugee Law: James Hathaway Revisited. Available at: &lt&semicwww.csu.edu.au/student/forcedmigration/refugee/Vol1/Vol1_a6.htm&gt&semic . This point is especially valid when one considers the usual trend of smaller, less developed states, which emulate such measures. Non-entrée policies have not emerged sans controversy. Such policies can easily be construed as contrary to the spirit and purpose of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 189 U.N.T.S. 150, entered into force April 22, 1954. (hereinafter called ''the Refugee Convention'' or ''the Convention'') which prohibits the penalisation of immigrants on account of their illegal entry See article 31 of the Refugee Convention.. The refugee convention further prohibits the return of immigrants to a territory where their life or freedom may be endangered Ibid. article 33 (on non-refoulement).. The underlying rationale of non-entrée policies is to prevent would-be asylum seekers from accessing the jurisdiction of the potential country of protection. Successful non-entrée policies greatly reduce the obligations of a country to offer protection to asylum seekers. Like many countries, the Bahamas has adopted rather restrictive policies towards asylum seekers. The archipelago of 700 islands and cays is located approximately 50 miles off the east coast of Florida. Due to its proximity to the United States of America (USA), illegal immigration is a significant aspect of its geopolitical relationship with this country. Indeed many of the illegal immigrants apprehended in Bahamian waters have dreams of landing in the USA. However, with just 23 inhabited islands and an approximate population of 310,000, many undocumented immigrants end up in the Bahamas - a trend that is disturbing to both the Bahamian Government and the electorate alike. It has been estimated that there are approximately 60,000 illegal immigrants living in the Bahamas BBC 'Country Profile: Bahamas'. Available at: &lt&semicwww.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/country_profiles/115642.stm &gt&semic, predominantly from Haiti or of Haitian parentage. In addition to its geographical location, economic and political stability are other 'pull factors' which have made the Bahamas an attractive destination for immigrants in the region. However, in recent times, the country has seen illegal immigrants come from all over the world - even as far away as China, Nigeria and Nepal. Though many of the illegal immigrants landing on Bahamian shores are 'economic migrants', it is extremely important to distinguish between those 'in search of a better life' and those seeking asylum. It is particularly difficult to make this distinction, which in the writer's opinion, is one of the main problems plaguing the asylum policy of the Bahamas. In summary, this thesis will provide a comprehensive overview of asylum policy and procedure in the Bahamas, highlighting the inadequacies of the system and its inconsistency with international law. The writer will critically analyse Constitutional provisions and the 1967 Immigration Act, which fail to consider asylum seekers, in addition to discussing the failure of the Government to enact appropriate legislation to implement the provisions of the refugee convention. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Moss, Deneisha
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
International Human Rights Law
language
English
id
1555028
date added to LUP
2010-03-08 15:22:52
date last changed
2010-03-08 15:22:52
@misc{1555028,
  abstract     = {Volatile conflicts, poverty and suppression of basic human rights stemming from one's political or religious affiliations, gender and race, are some of the various reasons why thousands flee home in the hopes of finding some kind of security. As the world observes the appalling deterioration of conflicts in Western Sudan, Iraq and Haiti, we simultaneously observe neighbouring or developed countries securing their borders in an effort to prevent an influx of refugees on to their territories. We have seen wealthy nations invest in costly technology to detect illegal immigrants and impede all efforts to access their territory. Such deterrent strategies are crystallized through non-entrée or protective entry policies, which may take several forms including&semic i) off-shore processing, ii) visa requirements and iii) interception at sea. From Europe to the Americas, governments are working diligently to keep ''illegal immigrants'' out. James Hathaway has argued that such 'restrictionist practice' by Western States effectively threaten the viability of international refugee protection Virag Katalin&semic Towards a Progressive Reading of International Refugee Law: James Hathaway Revisited. Available at: &lt&semicwww.csu.edu.au/student/forcedmigration/refugee/Vol1/Vol1_a6.htm&gt&semic . This point is especially valid when one considers the usual trend of smaller, less developed states, which emulate such measures. Non-entrée policies have not emerged sans controversy. Such policies can easily be construed as contrary to the spirit and purpose of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 189 U.N.T.S. 150, entered into force April 22, 1954. (hereinafter called ''the Refugee Convention'' or ''the Convention'') which prohibits the penalisation of immigrants on account of their illegal entry See article 31 of the Refugee Convention.. The refugee convention further prohibits the return of immigrants to a territory where their life or freedom may be endangered Ibid. article 33 (on non-refoulement).. The underlying rationale of non-entrée policies is to prevent would-be asylum seekers from accessing the jurisdiction of the potential country of protection. Successful non-entrée policies greatly reduce the obligations of a country to offer protection to asylum seekers. Like many countries, the Bahamas has adopted rather restrictive policies towards asylum seekers. The archipelago of 700 islands and cays is located approximately 50 miles off the east coast of Florida. Due to its proximity to the United States of America (USA), illegal immigration is a significant aspect of its geopolitical relationship with this country. Indeed many of the illegal immigrants apprehended in Bahamian waters have dreams of landing in the USA. However, with just 23 inhabited islands and an approximate population of 310,000, many undocumented immigrants end up in the Bahamas - a trend that is disturbing to both the Bahamian Government and the electorate alike. It has been estimated that there are approximately 60,000 illegal immigrants living in the Bahamas BBC 'Country Profile: Bahamas'. Available at: &lt&semicwww.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/country_profiles/115642.stm &gt&semic, predominantly from Haiti or of Haitian parentage. In addition to its geographical location, economic and political stability are other 'pull factors' which have made the Bahamas an attractive destination for immigrants in the region. However, in recent times, the country has seen illegal immigrants come from all over the world - even as far away as China, Nigeria and Nepal. Though many of the illegal immigrants landing on Bahamian shores are 'economic migrants', it is extremely important to distinguish between those 'in search of a better life' and those seeking asylum. It is particularly difficult to make this distinction, which in the writer's opinion, is one of the main problems plaguing the asylum policy of the Bahamas. In summary, this thesis will provide a comprehensive overview of asylum policy and procedure in the Bahamas, highlighting the inadequacies of the system and its inconsistency with international law. The writer will critically analyse Constitutional provisions and the 1967 Immigration Act, which fail to consider asylum seekers, in addition to discussing the failure of the Government to enact appropriate legislation to implement the provisions of the refugee convention.},
  author       = {Moss, Deneisha},
  keyword      = {International Human Rights Law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Review of Asylum Policies and Procedures in The Bahamas: Are Current Policies and Procedures Consistent with International Instruments for the Protection of Refugees?},
  year         = {2006},
}