Human rights: Seychelles' law enforcement bodies brush up on constitutional rights
The police, immigration and prison officers are among the participants in the training. (Seychelles Nation)
Top officials from key law enforcement bodies in Seychelles are expected to acquire a better understanding of human rights issues through a half-day training course on Tuesday, said a top official.
The police, immigration and prison officers are among the participants in the training focused on the Seychellois charter of fundamental human rights and freedoms in Chapter III of the Constitution of Seychelles.
"We expect to notice major changes as this is the first time that we sit with our key partners where we are trying to understand each other where Chapter III of the Constitution is concerned," said Elvis Julie, the chief executive of the Seychelles Human Rights Commission (SHRC).
Julie said the participants in the training have a crucial role in the realisation of human rights and have been chosen as they are at the "forefront of keeping law and order, of assuring that the rest of us can live in a safe and functioning society."
He revealed that so far, the Commission recorded around 50 complaints annually and that this is a figure that is steadily increasing.
According to the Commission's latest figures, a large majority of these complaints are about law enforcement, the prisons department and immigration.
In addition to imparting knowledge on the subject in an interactive setting, the exercise aims at facilitating "discussion to strengthen the implementation of the domestic and international human rights obligations of Seychelles in relation to the rights of liberty and dignity," he explained.
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Errol Fonseka, said in his address at the opening of the training session that "we come from bad times and human rights records are not perfect in the country, but we must always work to improve them."
He added that his officers are "educating ourselves and we would like everyone else to do the same where human rights are concerned. Human rights are part of relationship building in the country, where everyone has their rights and they may exercise them within the constructs of the law, all of which people need to understand how they work."
The CEO of the Seychelles Humans Rights Commission hopes that "after the session, all the parties will have a better understanding and appreciation" of each other's roles, responsibilities and challenges."
The SHRC, which was established by the Seychelles Human Rights Commission Act 2018, is a self-governing, neutral and independent body that is not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority. Its role is to investigate alleged violations of human rights and to assist victims of such violations to seek redress.
"It is not there to point fingers but rather to establish working relationships with its partners based on respect, trust and the adoption of progressive and protection measures for the promotion of human rights within the framework of the Constitution," stressed Julie.
The short training course, being held at L'Escale Resort Marina and Spa on the main island of Mahe, is a follow-up of previous sessions the commission held last year.
Others in the island state who have benefitted from the sessions include secondary school students and other government officials.
Seychelles - an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, with a population of 100,000 inhabitants – is ranked second in the Overall Governance category of the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance for 2022.
The Index is the most comprehensive assessment of governance performance in 54 African countries incorporating an expanded governance scope, including environment and equality; strengthened indicators, and a section fully dedicated to Africa's Citizens' Voices.