Joint Statement of support in the lead-up to the Bahamian Constitutional Referendum
Washington, 1 June 2016
“The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UNICEF, UN Women, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) commend the Bahamas for the steps it is taking to allow the Bahamian people to vote on 7 June 2016 on four amendments that promote gender equality in citizenship matters under the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
If passed, these amendments will ensure that Bahamian mothers and fathers have equal rights to transmit nationality to their children, and that Bahamian women are able to confer their nationality to their non-Bahamian spouses on the same basis as Bahamian men. The changes would also enshrine the principle of equal rights among women and men in the Constitution.
The proposed amendments to the Constitution are also welcomed in light of human rights standards set out in international instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability and the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man. Furthermore, the amendments would enable the Bahamas to meet its commitments in relation to citizenship matters under the Brazil Declaration and Plan of Action for Refugees, Displaced and Stateless Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean, adopted in 2014.
By voting for the four bills, the Bahamas will serve as a positive example to the international community, and its actions will help to encourage reform in countries worldwide which have yet to afford their citizens equal nationality rights.”