Bahamas denies stateless people from Haiti residing in the country

NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC) – The Bahamas government has denied reports that there are stateless people of Haitian descent in the country.

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said the Perry Christie government was aware of media reports attributed to the Haitian President Michel Martelly on the matter. Martelly paid a one-day visit to the Bahamas earlier this week where he signed a number of bilateral agreements with Nassau.

“As The Bahamas government understands the law of Haiti, the child of a Haitian born anywhere is Haitian at birth. This would mean therefore that the children of Haitian parents born in The Bahamas are not stateless and our law requires those persons to obtain a Haitian passport and a residence permit since at birth they are not Bahamian,” Mitchell said in a statement.

“We have indicated to the Haitian authorities here, however, that if they are aware of any cases of statelessness of people of Haitian descent, then The Bahamas will fulfil its legal obligations in international law and in the law of The Bahamas to regularize their status.”

But Mitchell said “to date, no application has been advanced by or on behalf of anyone of Haitian descent who is stateless”.

On September 23, last year, the Constitutional Court in the Dominican Republic ruled in favour of stripping citizenship from children of Haitian migrants. The decision applies to those born after 1929 — a category that overwhelmingly includes descendants of Haitians brought in to work on farms.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which denounced the ruling, has since suspended negotiations for the Spanish-speaking country to become a member of the 15-member grouping. Haiti is a member of CARICOM.

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