Thirty-two complaints — including on the right to work and freedom against torture — have been received by the Seychelles’ Human Rights Commission since March 2019, the chairperson said on Friday.
Bernadin Renaud said the complaints also include the right to a fair hearing, the right to live peacefully in a community, and the right of freedom of expression among others.
Renaud and other members of the Commission who were sworn in as human rights commissioners in March last year met with President Danny Faure at State House. An annual report for 2019 was submitted to the President in his capacity as the minister overseeing the work of the Commission.
“In the report, which will be shared with the media soon, there are our working plans and what we need to do. With the president, we talked about some pressing issues and recommendations that we have seen in the past months. We have analysed a lot of things having to do with human rights that are happening in the country, all of which have been recorded,” Renaud told journalists.
The Commission was established by the Seychelles Human Rights Commission Act in 2018. It is a self-governing, neutral and independent body that is not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority. The team is comprised of five commissioners and four staff.
The Commission’s role is to advise the government on matters related to the protection of human rights, in administrative practice as well as in proposed legislation.
“We have come to realise that generally in Seychelles, not many truly understand the role of a human rights commission. This is why we have requested to meet all cabinet members and with the attorney general so that we can explain the role of the Human Rights Commission and how we collaborate to work together. This is set to take place on July 2,” said Renaud.
The members of the Human Rights Commission met with President Faure in his capacity as the minister overseeing the work of the Commission. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
The Commission undertakes research and sensitisation programmes for the furtherance of human rights. It also monitors Seychelles’ compliance with the terms of international conventions, treaties and charters relevant to the functions of the Commission.
“We want to handle things in a systematic manner. We have signed international treaties and conventions on how for example to handle a refugee, a foreign worker or detain a person. In relation to the later, detention centres are not up to standards in the country. We need to work in a systematic way to outline what a detention centre should be and what standards it should it be on,” explained Renaud.
He added that in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, “there are breaches of human rights which we want to address to improve our society, but comparatively, Seychelles is not lagging behind in maintaining a very high standard of human rights.”
Renaud said that finance and staffing are two main issues that the Commission is facing at the moment. He outlined that “the education and training officers are posts that have been cut, but these are workers that we need, along with an investigation officer.”
A member of the Commission, Barbara Carolus-Andre, said that “you cannot educate a person on their right if the system that will help them is not there. We will just get complaints but there won’t be any solutions to them.”
Source: Seychelles News Agency