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Seychelles presents comprehensive human rights report for review

Seychelles presents comprehensive human rights report for review (Forimmediaterelease.net) A Seychelles delegation has presented a comprehensive human rights report to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process by which the UN reviews every State's record, and the challenges faced by it in promoting and implementing human rights.

Through the UPR mechanism, the status of the implementation of Human Rights obligations of the 192 UN member states is evaluated once every 4 years. The State under Review (SuR) is guided and supported through the process by a group of three other states called the troika. On this occasion, Seychelles was assisted by Brazil, Burkina Faso, and Pakistan from May 4-6.

The national report was prepared following an extensive research and data collection, as well as the convening of meetings and a workshop with all stakeholders concerned and was based on the human rights incorporated in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the international human rights treaties to which Seychelles is party and the applicable international humanitarian law.

The main review was held in a three-hour session on May 4 during which the Seychelles delegation presented its national report and responded to the comments and questions put by speakers of 27 states that attended the session. Representatives of several other states and international organizations also attended the session as observers.

The Attorney General Mr. Ronny Govinden, who led the delegation to Geneva, said the review process was very successful and allowed for Seychelles to share its experience and achievements, as well as receive the feedback and recommendations of the working group for the way forward.

“In general I can say that Seychelles had a very positive review, but there are some recommendations that now need to [be] put to government," said Mr. Govinden.

The delegation comprised of government representatives, Special Advisor in the Ministry of Social Development&Culture Mrs. Marie-Josee Bonne, First Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mrs. Sandra Michel, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consultant Ms. Marquise David, were accompanied by two civil society representatives. Mr. Govinden said that both the LUNGOS Chairperson Mr. Bernard Elizabeth and its CEO Mr. Steve Lalanne were vital and active participants.

“Seychelles is one of the few countries to have included civil society in their delegation, but NGOs are an essential part of the UPR process," said the AG and continued, “While our reports presented were a little different on certain issues, we presented a common front."

The speakers who participated in the UPR Session also commended Seychelles on its achievements and were appreciative of Seychelles' record on the social development indicators. Of particular note was Seychelles' stance against maritime piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Some of the recommendations put forward by the speakers in attendance included the strengthening of the Seychelles National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), as well as issues relating to domestic violence, protection of children, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, acceptance of the HRC special procedures and assistance required for fulfilling the pending human rights reporting obligations.

The UPR Working Group report will be disseminated to the wider public once it is finalized, and Seychelles will have chance to respond to the recommendations by September 2011 when the 18th session of the HRC will be held.

MEDIA CONTACT: Alain St. Ange, CEO, Seychelles Tourism Board, Email: alain.s@seychelles.com

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