Monday, August 4, 2014

The discredited Seychelles National Human Rights Commission is a national joke

Four members of the Seselwa United Party (SUP) were illegally arrested and detained by the police on 30th September 2013. Their fundamental rights had been violated. They forwarded a written grievance to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the 7th October 2013 seeking redress. A reply from the NHRC was received on 14th October 2013 in which they were informed that the case was being investigated and a report was due. Months later, no report is forthcoming.

 When it was queried, the four were informed that a letter had been sent to the Commissioner of Police and the NHRC was awaiting a reply. This is appalling and totally disgraceful. The NHRC has been dismantled for a fact. President James Michel has effectively done away with the NHRC and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean Paul Adam, has played the distasteful role of misguiding Mr. Kishore, the UN special rapporteur on Human Rights. These cowardly acts by the President and Minister Adam must be condemned in the strongest term possible. It is nothing short of national humiliation for our leaders to behave in this unsavoury manner.

 The NHRC is now a one man show; rather one woman show. The Ombudswoman, Dora Zatte, doubles up as the NHRC. She is a one person commission; a national disgrace. Rather than carrying out investigations as she is mandated to do both as Ombudsman and Chairperson of the NHRC, she decides to sit and do nothing. She has the power to summon anyone in this country and yet she is utterly uninterested. She has been plunked in the seat to cushion government waiting for the day she is appointed a judge. She is not ashamed; which is the greatest tragedy of it all.

There are announcements every month that she will be visiting Praslin and La Digue but she goes there only for fun. Seychellois have given up on the Ombudswoman and the NHRC but the SUP will live to see that the flamboyant and highly paid Dora Zatte does her job and that government appoints a credible NHRC.