Wednesday, October 8, 2014


In March this year the President appointed the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which until then was a one person commission. The NHRC is composed of Ms Dora Zatte as the chairperson and the Ombudsperson with Judge Ranjun Perera and Ms Farzana Jumaye as the members. The appointment of the chairperson and its members is in accordance with Section 3(9) of the Protection of Human Rights Act; all beautiful and eloquent words. The three musketeers were supposed to protect our rights; they have done absolutely nothing. The chairperson was seen on television telling the audience that the public does not bring forward human rights issues; it remains a lie.
Dora Zatte;NHRC Commisioner
Following the swearing in ceremony in March, Ms. Dora Zatte said, “For this forthcoming mandate, we expect to see a more dynamic National Human Rights Commission… We intend to primarily deal with the allegations of human rights violations.... we have also other roles to play in educating and promoting human rights issues but for the time being our resources do not allow us to give maximum emphasis to all of these sectors, so we have to prioritize our resources to where its most crucial and that is in investigation of allegations and breaches..”

The holy trinity of human rights in Seychelles has done nothing to investigate any allegation of violation. People keep going to their office at Aarti Building at Mont Fleuri and come out frustrated; they are all requested to forward a written complaint. When they do, it is all forgotten. No one even bothers to have a decent conversation with the complainant to determine whether it is a genuine case of human rights abuse or not. Seeing the Ombudsperson and Chairperson is impossibility. Any citizen can call at their office and witness it firsthand. The NHRC is a disgrace. The Chairperson is paid a double salary and yet does nothing.

After being detained illegally in September 2013, four complainants forwarded a written complaint to the commission on 7 October 2013. One week later, on 14th October they received an acknowledgement letter. One of the complainants has sought feedback from the commission but to no avail. He has kept calling and going to the commission and back but still nothing was done. For one whole year, he called and pestered the commission for feedback; the NHRC did not budge. It is despicably sad. The Ombudsperson and the NHRC is the protector of government; not of our rights.

The reasons given for not doing their jobs are petty and baseless; it is all about lack of resources. Resources are never enough anywhere on this planet; even the air we breathe comes in short supply at times. The three musketeers must be resourceful. They are in the wrong job; human rights organizations exist because there are people who can love others as much as they love themselves. The NHRC of Seychelles loves the perks more than they love their fellow citizens. Here we have three lawyers with the responsibility of bringing awareness of human rights issues to the population; they are used to writing through the night. They cannot even write simple articles and have them printed in the national papers even once a month to sensitize people on their roles and responsibilities as a commission or of issues pertaining to their rights. It will cost the commission not even a single cent; no paper, no ink just few minutes every month. This is a tragedy of the highest order.