‘UN welcome to confirm our human rights status’


Two of the groups discussing aspects of the plan

When launching the validation exercise, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Paul Adam told the partners that Seychelles has invited the United Nations (UN) to inspect and discuss any aspect of human rights they may wish to.

Among those who attended the opening session were ministers, principal secretaries, Karen Mckenzie who heads the Human Rights Unit of the Commonwealth, Dr Jean Zermatten who chairs the UN committee on the rights of the child and Dr Agnes Akosua Aidoo, a special rapporteur for the committee on the rights of the child for Seychelles.

The delegates worked in groups after presentations on treaty obligations, human rights bodies, awareness, education and training, economic social and cultural rights, civil and political rights and human rights vulnerable groups, among others.

Mr Adam said to them despite our size and limited resources Seychelles is a proud member of many international and regional human rights instruments.
“In the last year only, we ratified the Optional Protocol on the Sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and we issued a standing invitation to the special procedures mechanism of the UN, inviting uninhibitedly its human rights committee to visit us, inspect and discuss any aspect of human rights they may wish to discuss in situ.” 

Mr Adam said not many countries – big or small, rich or poor – can stand up and say the same.
“And we have issued this invitation because we are proud of our record on human rights, and we are happy and willing to work with partners to implement best practices.”
“In the same breath I am pleased to announce that in this very year, 2013, Seychelles will also sign the Convention on Enforced Disappearances, as well as ratify the third Optional Protocol on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“We are not doing it because it will improve our image in the international community, but we are doing it because it is good for our people and our people deserve the best protection to these fundamental principles.

“Today more than ever, after conducting a successful economic and structural reform programme, as a nation and as a government we are keen to ensure that our obligations and commitments do not remain in rhetoric, but are realised through our actions.”

He said the action plan whose first phase the delegates endorsed is a concrete step along that path.
“It will allow us to articulate our priorities and better coordinate the implementation of our human rights values and obligations to which we have committed ourselves.  The plan allows us to benchmark what we have already done against best practice, and bridge the gap between our good intentions and action on implementation where necessary.