Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Report

Introduction

The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Seychelles to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Seychelles' human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the International Religious Freedom Reports at www.state.gov.

Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives

The U.S. Government places priority on advancing the development and strengthening of existing democratic institutions and processes. The United States also seeks to capitalize on recent cooperation between the government and the opposition by supporting efforts to strengthen civil society through such actions as increasing freedom of speech and press and building the capacity of local human rights organizations.

Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance

The U.S. Government seeks to maintain and expand its positive working relationship with the government of Seychelles, the political opposition, and civil society in an effort to facilitate further dialogue among key actors. The United States continues regular discussions with government officials and advocates for the further legitimization of the multiparty political system by meeting with both opposition parties to discuss economic and human rights issues. The United States also conducts public outreach and awareness campaigns that address human rights and freedom of speech and press. In October 2009 the U.S. Government carried out a series of workshops and meetings on press freedom and journalism ethics for reporters and chief editors. The United States discusses with the government the importance of media and press freedoms. In an effort to address concerns about freedom of press, the local government retained two independent media consultants to research and analyze media. The consultants issued a report that recommended the creation of a media commission and a media association. The latter was set up in August 2009.

The U.S. Government's dialogue with opposition party reporters has resulted in a greater awareness of and reporting on human rights, particularly concerning reports of alleged abuses of prison detainees. In addition to these efforts, in March 2010 the U.S. Government held a two-day workshop on human rights for junior military and police officers.

In order to ensure that civil society provides input on policy formulation and implementation, the United States encourages the government to expand its policy consultation process. The U.S. Government has maintained diplomatic efforts to encourage the parliament to work in closer collaboration with NGOs and to establish an effective working relationship with civil society groups. The United States underlined the need for an independent human rights commission to investigate abuse cases involving detainees and civilians during regular meetings with GOS officials, and in March 2009 a human rights commission was established to investigate human rights violations committed by security force members. The commission carried out a high-profile investigation into the reported March 2009 human rights abuse cases in the Montagne Posée prison. This investigation was followed closely by the Seychelles' media, both opposition and government-controlled, and resulted in changes at the prison to address the problems cited in the commission's report.

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