Civic Space Developments

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

Association

Civic associations such as professional associations and advocacy groups enjoy protection under the constitution, provisions which are generally respected by the state. This right can only be interfered with by the state for reasons of ‘defence, public order, public morality or public health’. Read more

Expression

Despite constitutional protections, free speech is under threat in Botswana following a series of attacks on critical media. In January 2015 the website of prominent daily Mmegi was hacked and 12 years of archives deleted. Read more

Peaceful Assembly

While freedom of assembly is largely respected in Botswana, groups with opposing views have noted government interference. For example, the government prevented some organisations from entering the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and broke up demonstrations aimed at raising awareness about the indigenous residents of that area. Read more