Civic Space Developments

Expression

Barbados has a healthy respect for free speech and a vibrant media space ensures that people have access to a range of views and opinions. Like most Caribbean countries, defamation remains a criminal offence in Barbados and the punishment for libel is imprisonment of up to 12 months or a fine, although actual use of these laws appears to be rare. Read more

Peaceful Assembly

Protests are relatively frequent in Barbados and usually peaceful – recent protests have addressed a range of issues including unfair dismissal of workers, opposition to a new government tax and a hike in student fees. Barbados’ laws on public gatherings fall short of international standards and best practices related to peaceful assembly. Read more

Association

The constitution of Barbados, in Article 21, provides that nobody can be deprived of the right to ‘associate with other persons’ and form ‘associations for the protection of his interests’. The only exceptions to this rule occur when it is ‘reasonably required’ for ‘defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health’ or the protection of the rights of others. Read more

Barbados-Overview

Civic space is broadly respected in Barbados, which retains a healthy democratic tradition with free and fair elections and a strong rule of law. Civil society organisations are free to operate in practice and to promote a variety of causes. Read more

Expression

While press freedom is generally respected in the Bahamas, increased tension during elections can lead to some pressure on private media. There have also been some isolated threats against the media, and in late 2013 a live hand grenade was found on the premises of The Punch, a privately-owned tabloid newspaper. Read more

Peaceful Assembly

The right to gather in public to protest and demonstrate peacefully is provided for in the constitution and is generally respected in practice in the Bahamas. Protests concern a range of economic and social issues, including workers’ grievances and opposition to government policies and actions. Read more

Association

The Bahamian constitution protects the freedom of association in Article 24, and provides that it can only be limited in accordance with the law, and where ‘reasonably required’ in the interests of public safety or to protect the rights of others. Civil society organisations are able to operate freely in practice, and campaign on a range of human rights issues including the protection of migrant rights, and the rights of LGBTI people. Read more

Bahamas-Overview

The Bahamas is a stable democracy, rated highly for its strong protections for fundamental freedoms. Civic space is well respected, allowing people to form associations, conduct peaceful protests and assemblies and share views openly, even if those views are critical of the government. Read more

Expression

By most measures, free expression is protected and enabled in Antigua and Barbuda, and some good recent progress was made to improve the situation. In 2015, criminal defamation was abolished in Antigua and Barbuda following years of campaigning by regional and international civil society groups. Read more

Peaceful Assembly

People in Antigua and Barbuda are usually free to carry out public protests, demonstrations and other gatherings. Sometimes, however, when there is a political reason for a protest, the authorities deny permission, as they did in January 2016. Read more