10 August 2018

Seychelles: Nation to Get New Human Rights Commission After Signing of Bill

A new Human Rights Commission is soon to be created following the signing of the Bill 2018 by the President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, at State House on Thursday.

The Seychelles Human Rights Commission, which will operate independently of the Office of the Ombudsman, will serve to strengthen the framework for the protection of human rights.

At the signing ceremony, Jean-Paul Adam, the health minister who also presented the Bill to the National Assembly in April, said, "The reinforcement of this institution is very much in line with the priorities that President Danny Faure outlined to emphasise transparency and to give recourse to every citizen, no matter their background or their capacity. "

Adam added that the new commission will help citizens "be able to have their rights enforced throughout their lives, to have the support necessary, to have redress where they feel their right has been disrespected."

The role of the new commission will include mediation, conciliation and negotiation to enable it to investigate and detect human rights-related abuses and make recommendations to the government. It is expected to bring better, faster and wider recourse to afflicted parties.

In the last Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, Switzerland in 2016, Barry Faure, who was then the Secretary of State, had said that Seychelles has made significant progress since 2011 on its human rights performance.

The Seychelles review, which is done every four and a half years, was based on reports from the government, independent human rights groups and other local bodies.

The Seychelles Human Rights law, which is now in force, will reinforce the principles found in the Constitution and will also ensure that the institutions are in line with the Paris Principles. The Paris Principles -- adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 -- is a set of international standards which frame and guide the work of National Human Rights Institutions.

Members of the new commission who will be appointed will include a chairperson, a deputy chairperson and three members. The new law will reinforce the role of the Commissioners and provide them with more powers when investigating cases.

When he presented the Bill to the National Assembly on April 17, Adam had said that "currently the Office of the Ombudsman and the Human Rights Commission form one institution. The ombudsperson also chairs the commission even though the two bodies each have their own budget as well as employees."

The Bill was approved on June 5 by the National Assembly, the legislative body of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

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