The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) and the Citizens Engagement Platform, Seychelles (Ceps) hosted a workshop yesterday for various non-governmental organisations, to discuss the challenges preventing them from fulfilling their objectives with regard to human rights.
The workshop was held at the Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa, Beau Vallon.
Ceps’ chief executive, Alvin Laurence, explained that on the international platform, Ceps recruits all the NGOs fighting, pushing and advocating for human rights.
“At the same time, we have several other NGOs with components of human rights,” he explained. He said that the presence of the ISHR is to see the various defenders of human rights inside Seychelles, beginning with the workshop. Later on throughout the week, there will be other meetings.
“Today, the focus is more about the civil society, but during the week they will meet with trade unions and the media.”
At the same time, the workshop will also be able to determine in which direction the country moves after the situation is analysed by the ISHR.
“It is not just a group of people sitting around talking about what to do next, but we decide together,” he concluded.
Adélaïde Etong Kame, ISHR Africa programme manager, noted that the workshop will be a chance for the ISHR to meet with the human rights defenders in the country and to be able to get a better understanding of the situation.
“We focus on the strengthening of mechanisms on the international and regional level to make sure that they are indeed protecting and defending the rights of defenders,” she explained.
In addition, they are also working to ensure that defenders working on an international level have access to human rights mechanisms.
From the analysis done by the workshop, ISHR will be able to receive feedback from a questionnaire sent out to the various NGOs.
“We are also working with governments to make sure that the texts being drafted include the rights and needs of the civil society.”
The ISHR is also preparing a report that will come out next year about the situation of human rights defenders on the island states of Africa, which includes Seychelles.
New York Office co-director and legal counsel Madeleine Sinclair explained that the session will be an opportunity for the NGOs to discuss the current situation they are all working in and to discuss what type of challenges they are experiencing, and how to overcome some obstacles.
During the workshop, Ceps presented a National Framework for the protection of human rights defenders in Seychelles. In addition, there was a mini-training session for how human rights defenders can engage with the international system to further enhance the mechanisms to perform advocacy work.
“What we are aiming to do is condense something that is really long into something that is very short,” she explained.
The NGOs in attendance discussed what issues they were facing which varied from limited resources, to social stigmatisation.
There were also discussions on the new laws in place that prevent the NGOs from being able to perform theirs tasks diligently.
Courtesy: Sunny Esparon (Nation.sc)