Human rights advancements in Seychelles highlighted in latest Universal Periodic Review
The national efforts made during the last five years in Seychelles to improve the human rights of its people have been included in the island nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of its human rights report.
The advancements noted in the report include the setting up of the Seychelles Human Rights Commission; the Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission; and the enactment of crucial laws such as the new Domestic Violence Act, the amendment to the Children’s Act, and the Access to Information Act.
The updated report has been submitted to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council and the island nation underwent its third cycle review under the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the Council held through a virtual session recently.
“The new government remains committed to continuing a fostering of human rights, peace, social justice, equality, and non-discrimination among all Seychellois and inhabitants of these islands,” said the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, who led the Seychelles’ delegation at the session.
The UPR is a peer review mechanism that allows for member states of the UN to engage through interactive dialogues and issue recommendations to the state that is being reviewed on its human rights practices.
This exercise is done with the ultimate goal of improving the human rights standing of all countries. The review process is tailor-made, providing solutions for the specific state under review, rather than having a one size fits all approach towards the human rights needs of the states.
During the review, Radegonde highlighted the improvements made within the country since Seychelles’ last review in 2016. The Minister added that “the government is aware of specific areas which undoubtedly require attention, but that we are also gratified in the advancements we have achieved so far.”
Eighty-three states participated in Seychelles’ review and issued a total of 215 recommendations. These included calls for the enactment of new laws, domestication and ratification of relevant international instruments and the effective implementation of policies that will further safeguard the rights of people in Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean — and the betterment of the society.
A press communique from the Ministry said “Seychelles has affirmatively committed to 113 of these recommendations and will pronounce itself on the remaining ones, after necessary national consultations with concerned ministries and stakeholders.”
Seychelles’ review was based on its National UPR Report submitted by the government in March this year; a compilation report summarising various comments and recommendations that Seychelles received under the various UN human rights mechanisms and treaty bodies, compiled by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; and the summary of stakeholders’ information which includes inputs of the Seychelles Human Rights Commission.