MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2012
On the 10th of December, Seychelles joins the rest of the world to celebrate ‘International Human Rights Day’, marking 64 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The promotion and protection of human rights has always been at the heart of our government’s policy, which recognizes that such rights are vested in each and every person. And as citizens of Seychelles, we also recognize that our rights under the Constitution are intertwined inextricably with our responsibilities.
Adherence to the principles of liberty, democracy, and the rule of law are at the core of our national human rights strategies, which constitute the prerequisites for peace, development and security in our society.
This year’s theme for International Human Rights Day is “inclusion and the right to participate in public life”. Every Seychellois has the right to have their voices heard, and to have a say in the decision making process which shapes their lives and their communities.
It is in this spirit that wherever possible, the government engages in consultation at all levels to facilitate the participation of all segments of our society. However, I must admit that we can do a lot more.
From our macro-economic reforms to the Indian Ocean Games- it is clear that Seychelles’ success is always linked to maximum inclusion and participation by all.
Creating the conditions for full participation in public life in our society implies that we must create the space for different ideas to be shared. This space starts in the relations between two people- in whatever discipline in life (and so we must actively foster the principles of good neighbourliness and respect for one another in our communities). This space must thrive within our schools and public institutions. This space must grow and widen its scope within our media. This space must also exist at the international level- and this has also inspired our own bid for the Security Council in 2017- as we believe strongly that every voice counts.
Full participation in public life also means that we, as a nation, categorically reject and condemn discrimination in all its forms and the barriers it can create in our society. The government is fully engaged to achieve this through the various mechanisms already in place and more to be set up as will be identified by the National Human Right Action Plan which is currently being developed.
The creation of the Human Rights Treaty Committee is part of the government’s wider strategy to create more awareness of human rights conventions and their relevance in our national context. Seychelles’ commitment to human rights is reflected in the progress made in achieving the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review, which Seychelles undertook last year. This includes issuing an open invitation to the Special Procedures of the United Nations last month.
Our progress and achievements should never make us complacent however. There are a number of areas in which we must redouble our efforts- not just to meet the requirements of reports or treaties- but to ensure that we are truly creating the space for inclusion and participation at a national level.
The pursuit of guaranteeing every Seychellois the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of human rights, and in our own Constitution, can only be achieved through the collective action of our people.
Let us mark this year’s Human Rights Day by embarking on a journey to foster to a culture of tolerance, acceptance, and non-discrimination for all.
It starts with each and every one of us.”