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Over 150 human rights violations reported in Seychelles in 2023, ARID demands government treats survivors better

Victoria, Seychelles | January 15, 2024, Monday @ 16:35 in National » GENERAL | By: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 4905
Over 150 human rights violations reported in Seychelles in 2023, ARID demands government treats survivors better

Seychelles has many migrant workers from mainly Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, that have reported human rights violations in the past. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - There were over 150 human rights violation cases reported in Seychelles in 2023, according to the Association for Rights Information and Democracy (ARID).

These included cases relating to forced labour, intimidation, deception, no employment contract, confiscation of passport, being overworked and underpaid. According to the report compiled by ARID, all the cases have at least one element of human trafficking.

The chairperson of ARID, Lucianne Sofola, told SNA said that “Human rights violation, especially labour rights, is still a big issue in Seychelles.”

“When they walk in to report their labour issues is the time we get to know there are elements of human trafficking. In fact, most labour enforcement issues ARID deals with have elements of human trafficking and are not investigated. Unfortunately, when we report cases to partners concerned, again in most cases not much is done and in recent cases the victims were sent to their country and it is likely to happen again,” according to the report.

ARID “demands that the ministries’ concerned treat those individuals better and allow the survivors of human trafficking to rebuild their lives. Allow them to work when they get good employers, of course under proper conditions. Like our citizens, they too have families back home depending on them.” 

The report noted that there is an urgent need for the government to “enhance the level of compliance and to put in place robust mechanisms to deal with issues of human rights abuse and human trafficking.”

Sofola remarked that one of the most important recommendations that the government can take from this report is that they should “put into practice the ‘no one is above the law’, no matter your status. Stop the double standard. With regards to employment, get rid of the loopholes in employment laws.”

She explained that sometimes the only way to find out that someone was going through human rights violation is for the victim to step forward. The findings show that this is a difficult step for the victims because most of the time they may be punished and deported before the law can intervene.

The report notes that at the moment, “ARID is the only NGO in Seychelles promoting and advocating for the safety of migrant workers and fighting against human trafficking. The NGO conducts regular visits to suspected areas or premises where there are potential risks of human trafficking.”

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Tags: ARID, labour rights, human trafficking, human rights

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