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Press briefing note on Bahamas


Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:  Rupert Colville

Location: Geneva 

Date: 12 June 2020

Subject: Bahamas

We welcome the recent court ruling in The Bahamas regarding the country's citizenship laws which is a positive step towards promoting gender equality and reducing the risk of statelessness.

On 25 May, the Supreme Court ruled that anyone born in The Bahamas was entitled to citizenship at birth if at least one of their parents was a citizen of the country, irrespective of whether the parents were married.

Until now a child born in The Bahamas to a foreign mother and a Bahamian father out of wedlock was not granted citizenship and many children were rendered effectively stateless as they could only apply for Bahamian nationality upon turning 18.

The ruling stipulates that "every person born in The Bahamas after July 9, 1973, shall become a citizen of The Bahamas at the date of his birth if at that date either of his parents is a citizen of The Bahamas, irrespective of the marital status of the parents at the time of birth."

This brings the legal framework of The Bahamas more into line with international standards on the right to nationality and equality and non-discrimination. We encourage the Government of the Bahamas to build on this ruling and take the necessary legislative, policy and procedural steps to eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender in their nationality laws, as recommended by the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women.

The ruling came during consideration of the case of children reported to have been fathered by Bahamian men out of wedlock to Jamaican and Haitian women.  


For more information and media requests, please contact: Rupert Colville - + 41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org or Jeremy Laurence - + 41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org or Liz Throssell - + 41 22 917 9296 / ethrossell@ohchr.org  or Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 / mhurtado@ohchr.org

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