Human Rights Commission meets President Ramkalawan |06 May 2021
The Seychelles Human Rights Commission paid a courtesy call on President Wavel Ramkalawan on Tuesday at State House, the commission’s first official encounter with the president since he took office late last year.
The delegation from the Human Rights Commission consisted of its chairman Justice Bernardin Renaud and its commissioners.
Established by the Seychelles Human Rights Commission Act of 2018, the Human Rights Commission is a self-governing, neutral and independent body that is not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.
Part of its mandate is to investigate alleged violations of human rights, and to assist victims of such violations to seek redress, along with developing and providing human rights education programmes, review laws and policies that affect human rights and make recommendations to government for the adoption of measures to promote human rights.
“Under the Human Rights Act, the President of the Republic is the minister that we have to stay in contact with. Although we are independent, our interaction with the executive branch of the government comes through our minister,” explained Judge Renaud following the courtesy call.
“Our former minister knew of our work but the Commission had yet to formally meet with the new minister and today marks our first meeting with him to explain the way we work as a Human Rights Commission in relations to the government. Our conversation touched on many subjects.”
Judge Renaud noted that there is common misperception and misunderstanding of the roles of the Human Rights Commission which needs to be addressed.
“The Human Rights Commission is not a committee, not an agency or advocacy body – no, not at all. It is a commission which observes the government’s decision making at different levels to see where these decisions are in compliance with human rights,” added Judge Renaud.
He explained that an aggrieved complainant may come forward on a decision made by the state which they feel might have impacted on their human rights.
Judge Renaud stated that the Human Rights Commission will soon take up the task of evaluating the system of public governance so as to ensure that a person’s human rights are respected throughout different intervals in the government and to identify the root cause of certain problems within the government. It will be up to the government to resolve these issues to create an improved system of governance.