Government workers non-responsive? Seychelles Human Rights Commission wants improvements
Renaud said that it has become a norm and pattern in the public administration to continue working as we used to. (Archive photo: Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Have you ever written a letter to a government worker in Seychelles and not received an answer? The Seychelles Human Rights Commission says it's happening too often, and that improvements must be made.
The Commission's chairman, Bernadin Renaud, said that two areas the Commission is looking to tackle so that human rights of citizens are respected include systematic failures in organisations and improving the education of civil servants.
"Systemic failures are everywhere. It has become a norm and pattern in the public administration to continue working as we used to. It has become a norm for a government institution to receive a letter from a citizen and not reply. That is a serious failure. Public administration should not operate like that," said Renaud.
Renaud outlined that the worker needs to reply in a timely manner and to say why something couldn't be carried out. He added that people are receiving letters from the public administration with no citations of the authority in law which empowers the person to say yes or no.
"We feel that these people haven't received the proper training. Some of them do not even know the law that governs that institution. We would like to see, in the future, as you join the public service, you go to a civil service college and trained to know your general law and then specialise in the law of the department you will be working in and get it right. When this is done the person can make the right decision," said Renaud.
He added that the commission feels that the human resources department within ministries is not discharging their responsibilities to the fullest.
"We want this to develop so that there aren't too many frustrated employees in the workspace. We want this department to do much more - provide training, development, give advice, and all that is related to enriching the value of human resources," said Renaud.
He took the time to remind the public of Seychelles that "a citizen has the right to record all incidents using audio and visual footages - today we have the help of technology."
"This is something really important that can be used to help society. When this proof is given to a superior, the person can see what really happened. It could also be good for police officers to use bodycam so that they can record when they are insulted by the public. They will also have evidence," said Renaud.
He gave an example of cases where police officers have used their power to mask wrongdoing in the way they implement the law.
Meanwhile, 88 cases related to work, right to property, right to freedom, right to family, and right to fair hearings have been lodged with the Commission since it was set up, Renaud said.
The Commission which is mandated to protect and promote human rights in the island nation in the western Indian Ocean was established by the Seychelles Human Rights Commission Act in 2018.