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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

For use of information media; not an official record

Date: Wednesday, 04 May 2011 (Morning)

Country under review: SEYCHELLES

Documents:   National report A/HRC/WG.6/11/SYC/1;
Compilation of UN information A/HRC/WG.6/11/SYC/2;
Summary of stakeholders’ information A/HRC/WG.6/10/SYC/3;
 
Troika: BRAZIL, PAKISTAN, BURKINA FASO

Concerned country - national report

Represented by a 4-members delegation and headed by H.E. Mr. Ronny James Govinden, Attorney-General.

Highlights

-The Seychelles is party to eight core international human rights instruments: the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women; the Convention Against Torture; the Convention on Migrant Workers; and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is also a party to the Beijing Platform for Action.
- At the regional level it is a party to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and the Southern African Development Community.
- The Seychelles has ratified the Rome Statute as the 112th State party.
- Large numbers of officers from the police and the prison have received human rights training.
- An initial State party report under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women will be submitted in the near future.
- Affected by problems linked to sea piracy emanating from Somalia.
- A Judiciary Strategic Plan was set for 2010-2014, in recognition of the urgent need to address some judiciary systemic insufficiencies.
- Death Penalty was abolished by the Penal Code in 1995.
- The Family Violence Act 2000 seeks to protect the victims of family violence.
- The employment Act 1995 provides for prevention of and redress against discrimination, and the 2007 Amendment establishes a national minimum wage.
- The 1998 Amendment of Children Act makes provision for the creation of a family Tribunal.
- The Protection of Human Rights Act 2009 established a National Human Rights Commission.
- The Seychelles Media Commission Act 2010, established the Media Commission.
- The National Commission for the Child Protection brings together all stakeholders in order to propose policies and advice to the Government on child protection.
- The Social Welfare Agency provides short-term financial support to vulnerable individuals.
- There are policies protecting HIV/AIDS infected employers and workers’ rights.
- The National Drug Enforcement Agency is independent from the police but with the same powers, for the purposes of the enforcement of drug laws.
- Primary health care is free, as well as Anti-Retro-Viral treatment.

Interactive discussion

Number of States taking part in the discussion
Member States: 15          Inscribed on the list:: 27
Observer States: 12         

Positive achievements

- Seychelles has achieved most of the Millennium Development Goals.
- The United Nations Development Programme’s 2009 Human Development Report ranked the Seychelles as fifty-seventh.
- Immunization health policies for children have covered 100 per-cent of children aged between 12 and 23 months.
- Progress was made on policies against piracy, such as the Action Plan on Maritime Security2010-2040.
 - Establishment of the Public Officers Ethics Commission and the National Tender Board to ensure good governance and transparency.
- United Nations Common Country Assessment 2006-2008 underscored that Seychelles had achieved impressive health care.
- Reform of the judiciary and establishment of the Elections Advisory Board, the Media Commission and the Public Officer’s Commission.
- A number of Action Plans and Strategies in the field of social development.
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to help improve judicial and prison capacity.

Issues and questions raised

- Freedom of expression during the current Presidential election and independence of the Media Commission.
- Non-discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
- The need for the international community to offer support to address the effects of climate change and piracy.
- Transparency of judicial institution.
- Lengthy pre-trial detentions.
- Policies regarding access to safe drinking-water and sanitation on some islands.
- HIV/AIDS common country assessment 2006-2008 reports that the rate of AIDS cases has tripled.
- Does the Government intend to review the legal regime regarding the ownership and licensing of the press and private media?
- Implementation of obligation stemming from the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women?
- Are there information and national sensitization campaigns to eliminate prejudices and stigmatizations against people HIV/AIDS infected people?
- Is the National Human Rights Commission in full compliance with the Paris Principles?

Recommendations

- To strengthen the body of the Electoral Commissioner by setting up an election advisory board.
- To ensure that same-sex activity between consenting adults is not subject to criminal sanctions.
- To strengthen the judiciary system to address issues such as domestic violence and child abuse.
- To establish a de jure moratorium on the use of corporal punishment.
- To cooperate with the Human rights Committee and submit the report as required.
- To transform the Electoral Commissioner into an independent and collegial electoral commission.
- To increase the efficiency and transparency of judicial institutions and eliminate lengthy pre-trial detentions.
- To amend the legal code that applies to media licensing and libel allegations, allowing for greater liberalization of the media.
- To ratify the Convention for the Protection of all Person against Enforced Disappearances as soon as possible.
- To work with the United Nations Human Rights Office to prepare a common core document as a way to streamline and reduce the burden of treaty reporting.
- To ensure a civil society representation in the National Human Rights Commission.
- To establish a mechanism to receive, monitor, and investigate complaints on ill-treatments and abuse of children, through a child-sensitive inquiry and judicial procedure.
- To raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility in compliance with international standards.

Response of the concerned country

- No complaints have officially been presented regarding the blocking of opposition parties websites.
- On sexual discrimination: Article 27 of the Constitution provides for an equal protection and non-discrimination.
- Corporal punishment was removed from the legislation through the introduction of Article 16 of the Constitution on right to dignity.
- New policies regarding the protection of human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons have been adopted.
- Concerning the backlog of cases of pre-trial detentions; new judges and majesties will be designated.
- The Media Commission was set up for regulations matters; not for judicial accusations.
- First draft of Seychelles Report for the Human Rights Committee has been prepared and will soon be presented.
- All parties have equal time to present their political views during the course of presidential elections.
The National Human Rights Commission is an independent body. It is planned to revise its statutes to bring them in-line with the Paris Principles.
- Technical assistance is urgently needed to assist bodies dealing with human rights.
- Technical assistance is also required for reporting obligations and for the domestication process of international conventions.

Adoption of the report by the UPR working group scheduled on: Friday, 6 May 2011, 12:00 – 12:30

 More information

ADOPTION OF THE REPORT ON BELGIUM
The Universal Periodic Review Working Group today also adopted, ad referendum, the report on Belgium (A/HRC/WG.6/11/L.1), following the review of that country on Monday, 2 May.

Out of the 121 recommendations that were made by the Working Group, 59 enjoy the support of Belgium; 26 were considered as already implemented or in the process of implementation; 13 will be further examined and provided with a response no later than at the eighteenth session of the Human Rights Council in September 2011; and 23 did not enjoy the support of Belgium.

The UPR report on Belgium will be made available here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/PAGES/BESession11.aspx

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