On 21 April 2020, the President of Seychelles convened an urgent inter-governmental meeting to discuss child protection matters in Seychelles. Following the meeting, a High-Level Committee to address Child Protection Matters (the High-Level Committee) was set up comprising of representatives from a number of government departments. The High-Level Committee was tasked with preparing recommendations to enhance child protection in Seychelles, including the need for legal amendments, strengthening of existing services, and reinforcing collaboration between various stakeholders.
On 30 May 2020,recognising the need for legal reform, the President appointed a multi-stakeholder Child Law Reform Committee (CLRC) within the High-Level Committee. The CLRC will, in accordance with a detailed terms of reference, review the existing legal framework applicable to children, and make recommendations for legal reform to enhance the legal protections afforded to children in line with Seychelles’ constitutional and international law obligations and international best practice.
The Child Law Reform Committee will be chaired by Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey who will be supported by:
- Mr Frank Ally, Attorney-General;
- Ms Linda William-Melanie, Principal Secretary for Social Affairs;
- Mr Ted Barbe, the Deputy Commissioner of Police;
- Dr Erna Athanasius – representing the National Commission for Child Protection as well as the Health Department;
- Ms Catriona Monthy – representing the Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development; and
- Ms Ruby Pardiwalla – representing Civil Society
The CLRC will be assisted by a technical committee that will include local, regional and international legal and policy experts. The CLRC will also ensure that public participation (and the participation of children and young persons) will be facilitated throughout its work, and inform its recommendations.
The Chief Justice said that the “establishment of the CLRC is an important starting point for legal, policy and institutional reform that will enhance the legal protections afforded to the children of Seychelles.” She hopes that the work of the CLRC, “will be complemented by creative and innovative public outreach and education, and training initiatives and that this process will form part of a comprehensive and sustainable multi-sectoral strategy to combat crimes and abuse committed against children and support victims.”
On 17 June 2020, the Judiciary will be hosting a Constitution Day event with a focus on the special protection of children under Article 31 of Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles. The Judiciary will also use this opportunity to introduce CLRC, its members and explain its mandate and process going forward. The CLRC will have its first formal meeting on 26 June 2020. More information will also be made available in the coming weeks on the Judiciary website, Judiciary Facebook Page and the media.
For further information on the CLRC and to submit comments to the CLRC please contact Alan Wallis, Director for Legal Affairs in the Office of the Chief Justice.