Seychelles undergoes its first session with the United Nations Committee against Torture
As a party to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), Seychelles has the obligation to periodically report to the Committee against Torture on its achievements and efforts in implementing the objectives of the Convention nationally. On 30th to 31st July 2018, Seychelles engaged in a constructive dialogue with the Committee at its 64th session on their consideration of the Initial State Party Report submitted by Seychelles.
The session was undertaken through video conferencing at the REFLECS3 building, with a delegation led by Superintendent of Prison Mr. Raymond St. Ange, and comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Prison Services, Police Department, Department of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General’s Chambers.
During the session, the delegation received and provided clarifications, answers and statistics to questions and comments posed by the Committee. The questions ranged from matters relating to police operations, procedures and training, prisoners welfare and prison infrastructure, national legislations and ongoing revisions, as well as other pertinent matters.
As expressed by Superintendent St. Ange during his opening statement, “equal and dignified treatment of all people is a fundamental principle of both international human rights law and domestic constitutional provisions, and the Seychelles Government has come a long way in upholding this”. He further noted Article 16 of the Constitution of the Republic which provides for protection of the ‘Right to Dignity’, which states that “Every person has a right to be treated with dignity worthy of a human being and not to be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, and that most notably, there are no permitted derogations from this Article under the laws of Seychelles.
Following this session, a detailed report will be provided by the Committee against Torture to Seychelles, where various recommendations will be set out. The next examination of Seychelles’ state of affairs and progress under this Convention will be held in four years.