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STATEMENT BY HON. FRED MITCHELL AT UN ON HUMAN RIGHTS

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viagra canada try times;”>STATEMENT BY HON. FRED MITCHELL, buy cialis MP, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND IMMIGRATION FOR THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS AT THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL’S GENERAL DEBATE IN GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, OCTOBER 5, 2015

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I wish to thank the High Commissioner for his comprehensive statement which provides a detailed snapshot of the haunting realities of the global refugee situation. I wish to commend the High Commissioner and his staff for the yeoman’s effort in seeking to alleviate the suffering of those most vulnerable, a task which is further exacerbated by ever decreasing resources.

I want to also take this first public opportunity since Hurricane Joaquin passed over The Bahamas and inflicted serious damage on our southern islands to thank the international community for the spontaneous outpouring of support for our country and its people. 

Thankfully there was no loss of life related to the storm although one man died during the storm.  The property damage is considerable. Peoples’ lives have been turned upside down by a storm that seemed to appear from nowhere with an intensity unparalleled in our lifetime. 

If there are countries and individuals who wish to provide assistance, our Bahamas’ missions worldwide stand ready to receive those offers.

As I reflect on the hurricane damage, I am reminded of the UN film that marked the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in New York last week and its theme:  everyone wants a home, everyone needs a home.  The earth is our home.  We must take care of it.

Today scores of people in my country are without homes and we have begun the difficult and painful process of rebuilding.

The story is similar to one I witnessed in Dominica two months ago when Tropical Storm Erika devastated the physical infrastructure of that country and man people lost their lives.

Mr. Chairman, none of us are exempt from the ill effects of climate change whether in large developed countries like the United States or in Europe or small island developing states like The Bahamas and Dominica.

We, therefore, reiterate the need for a legally binding agreement at the upcoming Climate Change Conference of States Parties in Paris at the end of the year.

We are here today to address the concerns and challenges of those people around the world who have been forced from their homes and everything familiar, and have risked their lives on perilous journeys to borders unknown.

Today, we are players in a complex world where the rule of law for some, is adapted to suit the circumstances based on political ideologies, economic pursuits or even environmental occurrences which force people to move from one place to another.

No matter the circumstance, The Bahamas adheres to the belief that people everywhere deserve to live in a world free from violence and fear, where dignity and integrity of the human being is preserved.

Mr. Chairman,
The refugee crises which we face today is, without question, the most pressing since World War II. We have seen the forlorn, fatigued and fearful faces of thousands of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and countries in Africa, all seeking refuge in Western Europe. We applaud the UNHCR for their timely response to this crisis and recognize the critical work of the European Union members to manage the influx of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have come to their shores. 

For The Bahamas, illegal migration throughout our borders remains an awful reality. The Government of The Bahamas supports the view that dialogue and cooperation with countries of origin, transit and destination is necessary for safe and orderly migration. The Bahamas is mindful of its international obligations in this regard but recognizes the importance of protecting its borders, to prevent it being overrun by illegal migrants.

Mr. Chairman,
The Government of The Bahamas was pleased to be among the 28 countries to adopt the Brazil Declaration and the Global Plan of Action aimed at finding durable sustainable solutions to protect those forced to relocate due to political instability, the adverse impacts of climate change, transnational crimes and harsh socio-economic conditions. For the Caribbean region, its peculiar characteristics and realities require an in depth dialogue to address the challenges of a complex mix of asylum seekers, refugees, victims of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, with a view to crafting a comprehensive plan to determine the way forward in this area. The Bahamas reiterates the need to address the root causes of mass movement. This, however, requires the political will of all stakeholders, the sending, the transit or the receiving state, with a view to creating a safe and stable environment for all citizens.

Mr. Chairman,
The Bahamas is committed to supporting the work of UNHCR as it seeks to create a more bearable environment for all types of refugees. We take this opportunity to thank the High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for their assistance to The Bahamas in the areas exploring a systematic refugee determination procedure and providing guidance on migration management.

As I close, I reaffirm the need for us all to protect those most vulnerable peoples of our world who arrive at borders unknown to them, filled with fear, despair and anxiety. We have the opportunity to turn that fear to bravery, despair to hope and anxiety to assurance, so that human dignity and integrity can prevail. The United Nations remains the invaluable global body to build a sustainable world for all its citizens and to protect the earth which is our common home.

I thank you.