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UPR of Seychelles: States highlight restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly
Monday, 09 May 2011 09:58

 

The Working Group on the UPR reviewed the human rights situation in the Seychelles on 4 May 2011. The State was represented by a small delegation, headed by Mr Ronny James Govinden, Attorney General. Mr Govinden was the only member of the delegation to take the floor in response to States' questions and recommendations. He addressed all the main issues raised, as well as more specific and detailed recommendations and questions. However, because of the large amount of issues raised and the time constraints, the delegation's replies were varied in quality and explanatory detail.

One key issue raised by the reviewing States was restrictions on the media, on freedom of association and assembly, and on political opposition (since it has been reported that open opposition to the government has resulted in reprisals). This last issue was responded to briefly; Mr Govinden stated that there are no reprisals for political opposition because the Seychelles is a democracy. Another recurring theme was the State's obligation to submit reports under the international conventions it has ratified, which it has failed to do on a timely and consistent basis. Mr Govinden responded to this concern by referring to the large burden of these reporting obligations for a small State with limited human and technological resources. Violence against and protection for women and children, conditions in prisons, and the aligning of the Seychellois national human rights institution with the Paris Principles were also amongst the themes discussed. Some States offered more specific recommendations and questions, including:

 

  • Encouraging the adaption of national legislation to explicitly incorporate the protection and promotion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual peoples' rights.
  • Providing support for rape victims and raising awareness of this issue.
  • Recommending the issuance of standing open invitations for UN special procedures.
  • Recommending awareness raising and preventive action with regards to HIV/AIDS. This includes the elimination of stigmatisation and discrimination against people infected with HIV/AIDS and education, particularly for youth.
  • Increasing and guaranteeing access to safe drinking water and appropriate sanitation, especially on the outer islands.
  • Encouraging the ratification of optional protocols and conventions, including finalising the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
  • Encouraging the allocation of resources with the aim of implementing and monitoring the implementation of new programmes, plans, and ratified international conventions.
  • Questioning the State's actions in response to climate change and, in connection to this, the State's plans to address its vulnerable economic reliance on tourism and the fishing industry.
  • Encouraging the protection and promotion of the rights of disabled people through legislation, appropriate accommodation and infrastructure, and integration into the public and social spheres.

States noted the country's high development index, its high adult literacy rate, its low rate of unemployment, and its high enrolment in primary and secondary school for both girls and boys. Several States, such as the UK, Australia, and Turkey asserted their willingness to support and provide assistance to the Seychelles with regards to capacity building, international review of the country's human rights institutions to assure alignment with international requirements, and meeting its reporting obligations. The Maldives, in particular, demonstrated its support for the efforts and improvements made and highlighted the importance of the international community taking the special needs and limitations faced by small countries into account. Upon adoption of the report it was noted that a total of 77 recommendations had been made. The State opted for deciding on the rejection or acceptance of these recommendations by, at the latest, the 18th session of the Human Rights Council in September.

 

For more information, including statements delivered and the report of the Working Group, see the OHCHR extranet (username: hrc extranet, password: 1session).

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 10:46
 
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