Press release

Strengthening Human Rights framework in Seychelles key; following Commonwealth visit to Seychelles

June 1, 2015

The Government of Seychelles, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat have conducted a one week set of multi-pronged activities focusing on human rights, from the 25th to 29th of May at the Eden Bleu Hotel and the Foreign Affairs Department.

The week’s activities have been led by Advocate Karen McKenzie, Head of the Human Rights Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, with the assistance of a team of human rights experts; Advocate John Walters, Ombudsman of Namibia, Mr. D. B Seethulsingh, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission in Mauritius, Ms. Aruna Narain, Parliamentary Counsel of Mauritius, guiding the sessions with the local stakeholders and organizations working to uphold human rights principles in the Seychelles, with the assistance of Mr. Justin Pettit and Mr. James Ingram of the Commonwealth.

The objectives of the activities have been to firstly, serve as a capacity building intervention with the Seychelles Human Rights Treaty Committee(SHRTC) on the preparation of the Universal Periodic Review reporting phase, in anticipation of Seychelles being represented at the next UPR session in Geneva, taking place in January 2016.

Secondly, a two-day national stakeholder consultation was held with all relevant stakeholders working to uphold human rights principles in their daily work as a platform to communicate views on the function of the Seychelles National Human Rights Commission as a dual mandated/hybrid NHRI, and the need for it to be Paris Principal complaint, as per international standards. Participants also had the opportunity to engage in constructive dialogues with the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, Ms. Dora Zatte, and its members.

Finally, the Commonwealth and the SHRTC engaged in a one day discussion on the five-year Seychelles National Action Plan on Human Rights, in order to finalize the document, and to agree upon the roles of stakeholders in bringing the Plan forward.

A Press Conference was held by Minister Morgan and Advocate McKenzie on Friday the 29th of May, where both the Government of Seychelles and the Commonwealth emphasized the fruitful collaborations that have taken place so far. Minister Morgan noted the “frank conversations that took place over the past few days with a wide variety of stakeholders” and noted that “our National Human Rights Commission should be, and shall be the cornerstone of our national human rights protection system, and as a Government we are strongly committed to providing the necessary resources to support the work of the institution”.

The Government of Seychelles remains dedicated to uphold the momentum in the human rights agenda within national developmental priorities, recognizing that the enjoyment of all such freedoms and rights by every individual are key to the enrichment of governance and democracy, and to maintain national unity and cohesion in society.