'Significant progress' made on human rights in Seychelles
The police on patrol in the evening (Rassin Vannier, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles has made significant progress since 2011 on its human rights performance, the island nation's Secretary of State says.
Barry Faure was speaking at Seychelles' second review called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on its human rights landscapes on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Universal Periodic Review is a process where member states of the United Nations explain what actions they have taken to address human rights and fulfill obligations in their respective countries. It is done every four and a half years.
The Seychelles review was based on reports from the government, independent human rights groups and stakeholders.
The chair of the Seychelles National Human Rights Commission set up in March 2014, Dora Zatte, told SNA there has not been any report of a major human rights violation in Seychelles since then. Zatte also heads the office of the Ombudsman where violations are reported.
“The human rights landscape is quite good, although there are minor issues that can be tackled. There is no gross violation,” said Zatte.
Speaking to SNA on Wednesday, Jules Hoareau, chair of the Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (CEPS) said that although he agrees that a lot of efforts have been made, there are more human rights violations than what is reported.
“We believe there are much more violations of human rights in Seychelles, the problem is that when people do not know their basic rights they will not know when it is being violated. This is why we are saying that education must be done to inform people on their rights," he said.
Hoareau says that even with the setting up of the local human rights commission, there is not enough support and this is impacting the efficiency of the commission.
“We do not hear much from the human rights commission and the civil society organisation wants an active commission with full time paid employees. A place where aggrieved persons can walk into report and request for assistance in respect to human right violation," explained Hoareau.
CEPS is advocating for more sensitization on the human rights subject and a more effective mechanism to detect violation and seek redress. Government is in discussion with other stakeholders on establishing a local human rights authority.
The second review of Seychelles was attended by sixty states that shared their views and made recommendations on the country’s human rights performances.
Seychelles will hold consultations at the national level on the recommendations made and convey its position at the next session of the human rights council.