Prioritizing Human Rights in Seychelles


VICTORIA — Human rights in Seychelles fluctuate between the good and the bad. On many fronts, the country reaches higher than others in preventing and addressing human rights violations. A 2016 report on human rights in Seychelles found a number of successes.

Employment discrimination does not typically happen (though the report does address some issues regarding those who are not able-bodied). The administration in Seychelles enforces relevant legislation encompassing
religion, political views, race, citizenship, language and social status. Punitive measures for discrimination involve fines and the nation treats women equally in the workplace

Women live in a fairly matriarchal environment, and issues that are controversial for females in other countries, like inheritance or a lack of paternal responsibility, are not problematic in Seychelles. Women do not face hurdles to reproductive autonomy, and they receive government support with medical services.

At the same time, many human rights issues still occur in the nation. In spite of inspections, relevant regulations and punitive measures, forced labor still occurs. It is particularly prevalent in industries with many migrant workers, such as construction and fishing. The report highlights that government enforcement of these regulations remains inadequate.

The section on abuse cites another organization’s finding that “most rapes of girls under age 15 went unreported due to fear of reprisal or social stigma.” Women face a number of serious issues, including sexual harassment, rape and domestic violence. Here, too, there is a lack of enforcement and a prevalence of underreporting.

The report also listed other issues from police brutality and prolonged pretrial detention to restrictions on freedom of speech, association and academia.

USAID classifies the country as high-income. According to its website detailing foreign assistance, the United States’ disbursements to the nation for Fiscal Year 2015 came to about $490,000. The primary function of this aid fell under the military category—at a striking 97 percent. The U.S. Department of Defense played the largest hand with counternarcotics efforts and “International Military Education & Training (IMET) Program/Deliveries”.

But despite this aid, it seems that addressing problems — like crimes against youth and females, or police and governmental abuse of power — requires less focus on the military aspect.

Reallocating these funds can guarantee that proper programs are in place to ensure greater transparency in governments and police forces. They can also work to address the rights of traditionally disadvantaged groups like women and children.

Maleeha Syed
Photo: Flickr


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