‘Human rights promotion in Seychelles’ successfully implemented
The European Union ambassador Vincent Degert paid a courtesy visit to the Human Rights Commission in Seychelles at its headquarters at Ile Perseverance to evaluate and learn more about the ‘Human Rights Promotion in Seychelles’ project fully funded by the EU.
The project was launched in October 2021 and Andy Jean-Louis, project coordinator, explained that “out of the 50 project activities presented in the Project Logical Framework for Year 1, 45 have so far been implemented. Over 2000 people have been reached through the direct and indirect activities organised by the Seychelles Human Rights Commission (SHRC) under the project.”
They were able to touch various strata of the society including the media and civil society, children from primary and secondary schools, vulnerable groups, affiliated entities, Seychelles Police Academy, Ministry of Education, Immigration department, Prison Service, Family Affairs department, National Council for Children, Social Affairs department, Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles and citizens of Seychelles in general.
Ambassador Degert expressed his satisfaction about the project. “The SHRC has done a lovely job in talking with major actors of the society and it is good that they understand how to respect human rights. For children, the training sessions are during holidays and I think it is good to reflect these training sessions should not be embedded into normal curricula of the children at school. Things happen in the classrooms and even on social network. These debates have become important as many children are not aware they are violating the rights of other children.”
When asked about the 10th amendment of the Constitution, Ambassador Degert said he has full faith in the Seychelles Justice as the case is in front of the court and he was not aware of the situation
Mr Jean-Louis added that collaboration has been enhanced with civil society and a number of NGOs including partnership with ministries and agencies. This has resulted in a strong working relationship and increased awareness on human rights with these respective duty-bearers.
For the programme to be successful, the SHRC recognised the full support of the Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (Ceps). “The challenges identified is that most participants come with a rigid set of beliefs about society and history and are often unwilling to accept the most basic and fundamental human rights principles.”
The SHRC also produced various educational materials: 3 educational materials have been developed and printed; 3000 leaflets and 2000 bookmarks have been printed; an additional 100 copies of a HR booklet have also been printed and all the materials have been distributed to the public mostly during the special sensitisation activity in the town centre and at Providence (industrial zone).
Participants have expressed appreciation for the sessions and revealed that they were not fully aware of their rights as individuals but also as duty-bearers.
“The sessions have shown that there is a definite lack of awareness of human rights issues and the Constitution in Seychelles. Ingrained cultural beliefs and assumptions as well as overtly religious views have been identified as challenges. There is also an absence of clear operational procedures and guidelines at organisational level resulting in confusion and in some cases a laissez-faire attitude. Unless these issues are addressed HR violations will continue to occur despite an increased level of education and awareness,” noted Mr Jean-Louis.
Human rights awareness in Seychelles
A survey was conducted with the participation of 70 members of the public on the occasion of Constitution Day in 2022 revealed the following results:
- 93% said they knew of the existence of the SHRC
- 78% reported that there was insufficient HR education in Seychelles
- 56% reported being aware of the existence of a Charter of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the Seychelles Constitution while 44% were not aware.
There is a definite sense that the overall objective of the project (Increased human rights promotion and protection in Seychelles) is being slowly but surely achieved not just in the numbers of people and organisations targeted and reached but in the cascading effect that will result in the near future.
Funds received from EU
September 21, 2021 – €116,039; May 25, 2023 – €63,961 = Total 180,000 euros.
During the first year €40,572 were spent, second year €34,245 were spent and the third year €43,739.
Courtesy: Vidya Gappy (Nation.sc)