BAHAMAS

Ratification of the 1954 Convention: NO

Ratification of the 1961 Convention: NO

Existence of a statelessness determination procedure: NO

Existence of any other legal provision concerning statelessness: N/A

 

Current challenges and concerns

The Bahamas and Barbados remain the only countries in the Americas that prevent mothers from conferring nationality to children on an equal basis with fathers.

Currently, women citizens of The Bahamas and Barbados automatically confer nationality to children born in each country, though they do not have the right to confer nationality to their children born abroad. Bahamian and Barbadian women also do not have the right to confer their nationality to foreign spouses – a right that is reserved for men.

Under current laws in The Bahamas and Barbados, children of women citizens born abroad are at risk of being stateless: if those children are unable to acquire their father's citizenship or citizenship in their territory of birth, they will be rendered stateless.

A referendum has been drafted to amend the Constitution of The Bahamas (Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, 1973) to ensure gender equal nationality rights and ban discrimination on the basis of sex, but the referendum has yet to be put forward for a vote. Despite support voiced by leadership of the two main political parties, the referendum date has been postponed four times by the government. The most recent target date of June 2015, has again been postponed. Activists pushing for reform have emphasized the need for significant grassroots awareness raising so that the public appreciates the significant costs resulting from discrimination in the law and the need to ensure that Bahamian women and men are equal before the law. The government has committed to educating the public on this issue in advance of a referendum, though outreach to date has been limited.

Useful links

Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights: Website