Human Rights Committee Considers the Report of Mauritius

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The Human Rights Committee this morning completed its consideration of the fifth periodic report of Mauritius on its implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Presenting the report, Israhyananda Dhalladoo, Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the United Nations Office at Geneva, noted that Mauritius spared no effort to foster its development based on universal values of democracy, good governance, the rule of law, and the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, drawing on its cultural and ethnic diversity. Since the submission of its previous report, Mauritius had undergone profound structural changes with the creation in 2012 of a human rights division, a police complaints division, and a national preventive mechanism division within the national human rights commission. Parliament had also adopted the Equal Opportunities Act, establishing the equal opportunities commission, which embodied the clear commitment of Mauritius against all forms of discrimination. The Government also pursued discussions and consultations with relevant stakeholders to work towards an electoral reform that would suit the long-term interest of the country and that would have the following criteria: stability, fairness, inclusiveness, gender representation, transparency and accountability.

In the ensuing discussion, Experts welcomed the legislation adopted to ensure better anti-discrimination protection and anti-trafficking efforts, as well as amendments to the Criminal Code, the Criminal Appeals Act, and the Police Complaints Act. They regretted the lack of presence of civil society from Mauritius during the dialogue, and the fact that Mauritius was not a party to conventions on the status of refugees and on statelessness. Experts also raised the issue of the status of the Covenant in the domestic legal system, the appointment process for members of the national human rights commission, labour inspections, the participation of women in the public and private sector, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, voluntary termination of pregnancy, abolition of the death penalty, counter-terrorism laws and the restriction of bail and legal counsel for suspects under terrorism charges, and the elimination of barriers and restrictions to the right to vote for persons with disabilities. More information was requested about domestic violence and criminalisation of marital rape, abuse of elderly persons, corporal punishment, the fight against trafficking and the conditions of migrants workers, pre-trial detention, police investigations and prison overcrowding, collection of biometric data and metadata, the status of foreigners, refugees and asylum seekers, the juvenile justice system, and freedom of expression.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Dhalladoo expressed sincere appreciation for the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the Committee. He assured that the delegation had taken good note of all the insightful comments made by the Committee Experts, adding that the Government would give them due consideration within the confinements of the Constitution and the multicultural needs of the population of Mauritius.

Yuji Iwasawa, Committee Chairperson, took note of the progress made by Mauritius, namely the adoption of the Equal Opportunity Act, the establishment the equal opportunity commission and of the independent police complaints commission, as well as efforts towards the electoral reform. Nevertheless, concerns remained about a number of issues, among them the restriction of bail and access to legal counsel for terrorist suspects, gender-based discrimination, and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The delegation of Mauritius consisted of representatives from the Attorney-General’s Office, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Permanent Mission of Mauritius to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will next meet on Tuesday, 24 October, at 3 p.m. to begin its consideration of the fifth periodic report of Cameroon (CCPR/C/CMR/5).

Report

The fifth periodic report of Mauritius can be read here: CCPR/C/MUS/5.

Presentation of the Report

ISRAHYANANDA DHALLADOO, Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Mauritius had spared no effort to foster its development based on universal values of democracy, good governance, the rule of law, and the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in order to build a nation where citizens remained at the very core of such development. The objective of the Government was to provide a human rights-based approach to the economic, social and cultural development of the country in order to enable citizens to enjoy a good quality of life, based on human dignity, equality of treatment, economic empowerment and social justice. As a multiracial and multi-ethnic nation, Mauritius had drawn on its diversity to build a cohesive and tolerant society based on shared values, such as respect, equality, unity, inclusion and solidarity. At the international and regional levels, Mauritius had not only acceded to the core human rights conventions, but it had also seen to it that those instruments had been to a large extent incorporated into domestic law. Since the submission of its previous report, Mauritius had undergone profound structural changes in 2012 with the creation of a human rights division, a police complaints division, and a national preventive mechanism division within the national human rights commission. Parliament had also adopted the Equal Opportunities Act, establishing the equal opportunities commission, which embodied the clear commitment of Mauritius against all forms of discrimination. The equal opportunities commission was mandated to address complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of one or more of 12 protected grounds under law, namely age, caste, colour, creed, ethnic origin, impairment, marital status, place of origin, political opinion, race, sex or sexual orientation. In line with the Government programme 2015-2019, the Government had recently established an independent police complaints commission to be chaired by a former judge of the Supreme Court, to replace the police complaints division for a more expeditious processing of matters related to police complaints.

As for the issue of the Chagos Archipelago, Mauritius reaffirmed its sovereignty over the archipelago which formed an integral part of its territory under both international and domestic law. The Chagos Archipelago had been illegally excised from the territory of Mauritius by the United Kingdom in 1965, in breach of international law and the United Nations General Assembly resolutions 1514 of 14 December 1960 and 2066 of 16 December 1965. In the wake of the illegal excision of the Chagos Archipelago, Mauritians of Chagossian origin who had been residing in the Chagos Archipelago had been forcibly and shamefully evicted by the British authorities from the archipelago, in total disregard of their human rights. Since then, Mauritius had relentlessly pursued all efforts for the completion of its decolonisation process, thereby enabling Mauritius to effectively exercise its sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago. Mauritius had continuously received support from the African Union and the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as other friendly countries. The latest testimony of that international support was the adoption by an overwhelming majority of resolution 71/292 by the General Assembly on 22 June 2017 on the request for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965.

With respect to electoral reforms, the Government was sparing no effort to pursue discussions and consultations with relevant stakeholders to work towards an electoral reform that would suit the long-term interest of the country and that would have the following criteria: stability, fairness, inclusiveness, gender representation, transparency and accountability. In that context, the Government had established a ministerial committee in January 2016 to guarantee the better representation of women in the National Assembly. There had been a significant increase in the number of women participating in the past national elections, namely 17.5 per cent in 2014 as opposed to 10 per cent in 2010. As for women’s representation in decision-making bodies, it stood at 50 per cent on average, with about 47 per cent in the Supreme Court and 67 per cent in lower courts. The Domestic Violence Act had been subject to amendments in 2007 and 2011 in order to provide better protection of victims of domestic violence. To that end an advisory committee had been set up in 2014 under the aegis of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare. The Government had also set up the National Coalition against Domestic Violence Committee to work on an appropriate framework for the protection of victims of domestic violence. Concerning children, the Child Protection and Care Bill was one of the priority pieces of legislation which was expected to be introduced in the National Assembly in 2018. With respect to the recommendation to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act, the Government had set up a commission of inquiry in July 2015 to inquire and report on all aspects of drug trafficking in Mauritius. The commission had a mandate to look into the adequacy of existing legislation, the operational effectiveness of the various agencies involved in the fight against drug trafficking, and the adequacy of the existing resources, including human expertise technology and equipment, to detect and counter any attempt to introduce drugs in Mauritius. In conclusion, Mr. Dhalladoo confirmed that Mauritius’ periodic reports were prepared in consultation with the relevant stakeholders, including representatives of civil society and non-governmental organizations.

Questions by Committee Experts

Committee Experts welcomed the legislation adopted to ensure better anti-discrimination protection, and anti-trafficking efforts, as well as amendments to the Criminal Code, the Criminal Appeals Act, and the Police Complaints Act. However, they regretted the lack of presence of civil society from Mauritius during the dialogue, namely of the national human rights commission, and the fact that Mauritius was not a party to the refugee and statelessness conventions.

What measures had been taken to guarantee full respect for the human rights of the Chagossians living in Mauritius, especially their welfare fund? What was the status of the Covenant in the domestic legal system? Experts observed a rather monistic approach to the treatment of the Covenant within the domestic hierarchy of laws.      
 
As for the Criminal Appeals Act, was the period spent in remand counted towards the sentence?

Turning to the national human rights commission, what was the appointment process for members of the commission in order to fully comply with the principles of transparency and participation? Experts also inquired about guarantees for the tenure of mandate holders, the high percentage of seconded staff and the lack of provisions regarding conflict of interest.

What procedures were in place for the implementation of the Committee’s views under the Optional Protocol and what measures had been taken to ensure full compliance with the views adopted in respect of the State party?

As for equality between women and men, what measures had been taken to effectively implement the Labour Law of 2013, especially with respect to inspections? What kind of measures could be recommended by labour inspectors? What were the results of the 55 cases resolved by the Equal Opportunities Commission? What kind of measures could the Equal Opportunities Tribunal order?

The participation of women in the private sector was a weakness of the State party’s policy. What measures had been taken to ensure that women could indeed progress to higher levels of participation in the private sector? What measures had been adopted to ensure that women could report cases of sexual harassment in full security?

Turning to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Experts inquired about the State party’s plans to reform or abolish section 250 of the Criminal Code, by virtue of which any person guilty of the crime of sodomy or bestiality could be liable to penal servitude for a term not exceeding five years. What measures had been taken to combat homophobia? Were homophobic acts criminalised, as well as related hate speech?

As for voluntary termination of pregnancy, Experts welcomed the 2012 law that had amended the Criminal Code and had allowed abortion in a number of circumstances and situations. However, there remained confusion about the exact number of illegal abortions in the country.  How did the State party ensure that women were protected from the risk of stigmatisation? Abortion could take place if three licensed experts were in agreement. Had there been any cases of conscientious objection? What efforts had been made to raise awareness about sexual education and reproductive health, and family planning?

Was it impossible to modify the Constitution to abolish the death penalty? Was there any particular problem with the adoption of the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant?

Speaking about legal measures in the area of counter-terrorism, Experts reminded of the concerns about the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2002, namely the denial of bail for some terrorism-related offences and delayed access to legal counsel. Were any changes contemplated in law and policy? Another concern was the power to detain a person without a warrant. What was the timeline for bringing such individuals before a judge? How often had the Prevention of Terrorism Act been applied in the country?

Experts welcomed the commitment to increase women’s participation in politics and decision-making by 30 per cent. Which institutions or mechanisms had been established to monitor the impact of such measures? Did the State party envisage reflecting its commitment to increasing women’s participation in politics and decision-making not only at the local but also at the national level, notably within the National Assembly and the Cabinet?

What measures had been implemented to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the professional sector, and to eliminate barriers and restrictions to the right to vote and be elected for persons with disabilities? How did the State party tackle discrimination based on a person’s HIV/AIDS status? Were there limits on the political participation of institutionalised persons with mental disabilities, intellectual or psychosocial disabilities? Would the State party consider adopting temporary special measures beyond the ones adopted for women’s representation in local elections?

What efforts had been made to eliminate article 16 of the Constitution, by virtue of which the prohibition of discrimination did not apply to personal status laws and to foreigners? Did the State party plan to add aggravated circumstances for racial discrimination in the Criminal Code dealing with hate crimes?

What measures had been taken to train judges, law enforcement forces, administrative officials and the general public about sexual orientation and gender identity in order to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons? Would the State party consider recognizing the marriage or partnership of same-sex couples?

As for domestic violence, was marital rape criminalised? How many shelters were available and what measures were available when police officers refused to register declarations in cases related to domestic violence?

With respect to violence against and abuse of elderly persons, how many complaints had been received in the past three years and how many public awareness campaigns had been conducted? Was abuse of elderly persons in institutional settings reported? What types of abuse had been recorded and what kinds of penalties had been handed down?

While corporal punishment seemed to be unlawful in schools, it was not fully prohibited at home. What progress had been made to prohibit corporal punishment in all settings? 

Replies by the Delegation

ISRAHYANANDA DHALLADOO, Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the United Nations Office at Geneva, reiterated that Mauritius took its reporting obligations with the utmost seriousness, adding that its late submission of the report should not be taken as a lack of commitment. As for the protection of the rights of the Chagossians, they were citizens of Mauritius and as such they enjoyed all the rights as any other citizens of Mauritius. The primary objective of the welfare fund was to integrate the Chagossians into society. Turning to the death penalty and the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant, Mr. Dhalladoo explained that since 1995 Mauritius had commuted all sentences of the death penalty to imprisonment for life. Perhaps it was time for the Human Rights Committee to reflect on the incompatibility of the Second Optional Protocol with the legislation of the many countries that had not ratified it. The death penalty was a highly controversial issue in Mauritius. As for gender parity in the political arena, Mr. Dhalladoo reminded that there was a high spectrum of women in leading positions.

The delegation clarified that Mauritius as a small densely populated island had not yet adopted laws to grant refugee status and asylum. However, it was willing to review such cases and help them settle in third countries. Domestic legislation was construed to give effect to the Covenant provisions, but the treaties ratified by Mauritius were not automatically incorporated in the domestic legal system.

With respect to the amendments to the Criminal Appeals Act and the Criminal Procedures Act, the delegation explained that the amendments had given effect to the human rights division of the national human rights commission. The remand period was taken into account when looking at a sentence. Given the social fabric of the country and its multicultural character, the electoral reform demanded a lot of consultation. In addition, a three-quarter majority vote was necessary for constitutional reform.

The participation of women in the private sector was governed by the same laws as their participation in the public sector. Women could use the existing judicial remedies and make use of petitions to lodge complaints. Mauritius had made great progress in women’s representation in political life through the adoption of relevant electoral laws.
The Equal Opportunities Commission had the opportunity to refer cases to the Equal Opportunities Tribunal when mediation failed. Foreign women were allowed to work in Mauritius.

The Government intended to amend the Criminal Code to better deal with sexual offences, namely sodomy. However, that question was very sensitive in Mauritius and still had to be resolved by various stakeholders. The Government did not plan to amend the article on sodomy in the immediate future, even though it was aware that it should be addressed. As for the alleged case of police brutality based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the delegation noted that victims could refer their case to relevant authorities.

More awareness had been created in Mauritius regarding domestic and family violence. The Government did not have yet a legal framework for the protection of victims’ rights, but it was working on it.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act and all counter-terrorism laws had been drafted with the Covenant provisions in mind. The denial of bail was applied in a very limited number of cases. The delegation explained that adequate safeguards were inbuilt in those acts and that any charged person under terrorism charges enjoyed the rights afforded by the Constitution, such as the appearance in front of a judge within a reasonable amount of time and the provision of legal counsel. Amendments had been made in order to prevent terrorist acts, which were of global concern. 

Persons institutionalised in mental hospitals could not vote and the Government did not plan to change the current regulation. Disability and sexual orientation were part of prohibited discriminatory grounds. Due to the sensitivity of the issue, it would take some time until more progress had been made towards the recognition of same-sex marriage and partnership. Continuous professional development courses on human rights, including on disability and sexual orientation, had been developed for judges, lawyers and law enforcement personnel.

Marital rape was not defined as a separate offence, but it could be prosecuted under the offence rape of the Criminal Code. The Criminal Code already treated hate crimes, which were not frequent occurrences in the country.       

Corporal punishment was not prohibited in all settings, but it would be addressed as part of the review of the Child Protection and Care Bill. Nevertheless, corporal punishment could be prosecuted under the Criminal Code.

The protection of elderly persons was performed by protection units for the elderly and many public awareness campaigns had been conducted.  Most of the cases had been dealt with through counselling within the family context. Residential facilitates for the elderly would be equipped with medical staff and cameras in order to address relevant concerns.  

The delegation said that most common abuses against the elderly were of an emotional and physical character, including neglect. As for forced labour, Mauritius had ratified the relevant conventions of the International Labour Organization. The Employment Rights Act stipulated that a child under the age of 18 could not enter into an employment contract. In 2016 and 2017 labour inspections had not detected any cases of child labour. Nevertheless, children working in the agricultural sector and in the street had been reported. In order to strengthen the inspection of child labour, a specialised police unit had been set up, as well as a hotline.

The national human rights commission and the equal opportunities commission operated in full impartiality and had their own budgets voted by the National Assembly. The appointment of members of the equal opportunities commission was carried out by the President of Mauritius. The national human rights commission could advertise and recruit its own staff. The Equal Opportunities Tribunal was currently deliberating on 33 cases, out of which one had been dismissed. None of the cases had to do with sexual orientation and gender identity.  

The latest statistics on domestic violence showed that more women were coming forward to denounce such violence. There was legal advice and counselling available, as well as temporary accommodation in shelters for victims. The approach to domestic violence required a four-pronged strategy based on intervention, prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration. There had been research, coordination and monitoring, and awareness raising with respect to gender-based violence. The Government had set up the National Coalition against Domestic Violence Committee, which had recommended the establishment of a command centre for all issues pertaining to domestic violence.

There were currently two shelters for victims of domestic violence, as well as a shelter for women and children in distress. Another shelter would soon open in the western part of the country. Police officers were duty bound to record cases of domestic violence. Victims could report cases directly to the police headquarters.

Second Round of Questions by Experts

Experts asked for clarification on why there was a need to change the Constitution in order to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant. How did the State party consider the denial of bail for drug related crimes in the context of terrorist charges? What sort of items or objects did the State party contemplate as raising suspicions of belonging to a terrorist group?

Who had the ultimate decision-making authority in coordinating the fight against trafficking? Experts observed the harsh living conditions and recruitment conditions for some migrant workers.

Why was there still a need for provisional charges? Had progress been made in adopting the new police and evidence legislation? How much information did the police need in order to make arrests? There were some due process concerns in that area.  Was there any intention to expand the use of video recording in police interrogations?

There was a concern that detainees were held for lengthy periods of time, especially in drug-related cases. How widespread was that problem in Mauritius and what were the criteria for determining the amount of bail? What was the fast-track process and how could it alleviate the problem of pre-trial detention? Had there been any cases when the use of DNA had led to exoneration?

As for biometric data and surveillance, was the State party considering the reintroduction of legislation on that issue? Had any surveillance of information and interception of private communication powers been used? What was the maximum retention time for metadata, and how was access to metadata governed? What safeguards were in place?

What was the number of investigations of complaints against State officials by individuals deprived of their liberty, and the nature of the violations and the State departments involved? Exerts also drew attention to cases of death in detention, and they inquired about the outcome of relevant investigations.

Was the Police Complaints Commission fully operational and what human and financial resources would be allocated to it? Experts observed that reducing pre-trial detention and recidivism would help to decrease prison overcrowding. There was also a concern about prison conditions, namely the lack of separation between different categories of prisoners. Violence in prisons was also a concern. 

As for measures to disseminate information about the Covenant and its Optional Protocols, Experts inquired about the ways of involvement of civil society. What other initiatives had been applied to raise awareness about the Covenant and its Optional Protocols among the widest possible public in Mauritius?

Were the hearings of serious drug-related cases still chaired by a judge of the Supreme Court? What measures was the State party considering to reduce excessively long detention under drugs-related charges? Would the State party consider amending legislation to reinstate provisional charges?

What major changes would be introduced in the juvenile justice system? Had the State party given due consideration to trials of children without legal representation? Had the State party decided on the minimum age for criminal responsibility? How many girls and boys were placed in youth correctional facilities? Which complaints mechanisms were in place for girls and boys in correctional centres?

As for foreigners, refugees and asylum seekers, Mauritius did not have a law on refugee status and asylum or on statelessness, but it had tried to treat applications on a humanitarian case-by-case basis. When would the Government set up a comprehensive legal framework to deal with vulnerable migrants? Would the Government consider acceding to the 1951 convention relating to the status of refugees and its 1967 protocol? Would it consider the ratification of conventions on statelessness? With respect to travel bans imposed on migrant workers and foreigners with HIV/AIDS, how many people had been affected by those restrictions?

Turning to the freedom of expression, Experts inquired about the criminalisation of sedition and about the number of cases prosecuted under those provisions. What were the obstacles to the establishment of private broadcast media and thus of media pluralism? How was independent oversight of the media guaranteed? What steps had been taken to adopt a freedom of information policy and what was its estimated date of adoption?

As for participation in political and public affairs, the issue of community affiliation remained problematic. What measures had been taken so that all communities were equally represented in the civil service and the Government, including at the highest level?  

Replies by the Delegation

ISRAHYANANDA DHALLADOO, Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the United Nations Office at Geneva, highlighted the importance of respecting different cultural practices in Mauritius. The Government could not be insensitive to the needs of different cultures in the country.

The delegation explained that the legal reasoning for drug-related cases and terrorism-related cases was decided by judges. Concerning the new amendment to the Prevention of Terrorism Act with respect to clothing and objects that could be associated with terrorist groups, the concerns of the public had been taken into account. Trafficking in persons was of concern for the Government which was making significant efforts to eliminate trafficking. The relevant inter-ministerial committee comprised numerous stakeholders and it held regular meetings.

With respect to provisional charges, they had been inherited from the British colonial system and could not be changed overnight. Police officers were empowered to arrest a person on reasonable suspicions. Video recordings of police interrogations were already applied to high-profile cases, whereas expansion to other offences required additional resources. The Government did not plan to reconsider the use of biometric data at the moment.

There was no potential for conflict between domestic legislation and provisions of the Covenant as the provisions were very similar. In addition, domestic legislation should be construed in a way that gave effect to the Covenant.  

The delegation noted that only a very limited number of detained persons were held in the same prison with convicted persons. A number of foreign prisoners had already been sent to their countries of origin. Prison overcrowding was no longer a problem in the country after the opening of a new prison facility. 

Lawyers were recruited by the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, whereas judges were appointed from the ranks of existing magistrates. The denial of bail was applied to persons charged under the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2000. However, the Commission of Inquiry would address that issue further.

The Juvenile Justice Bill was still being considered by relevant stakeholders. The Government would address the establishment of specialized juvenile courts, as well as the minimum age for criminal responsibility. Child perpetrators should be afforded a legal representative to ensure their defence.

There were no laws and policies on refugees and asylum seekers due to a stretch in financial resources and geographical constraints. The Government did not envisage to set up an agency to screen asylum seekers in the future. Nevertheless, those in danger of persecution in their countries of origin would not be deported from Mauritius. The Deportation Act set out relevant safeguards for judicial review. Mauritius was not considering the ratification of conventions on refugees and statelessness.

Turning to the question about the travel ban on persons with HIV/AIDS, the delegation noted that Mauritius had one of the most progressive laws on HIV/AIDS. Due to its small size and dense population, the Government maintained the travel restrictions. 

The Government would take into account Experts’ comments on expanding the grounds for discrimination. Disability might be the next ground to be considered.

The Prime Minister’s Office would proceed with a bill on freedom of the media and with a freedom of information act. There were legal safeguards that allowed the Media Board to operate in an independent manner.

Since 2013, cases of police brutality had been referred to the police complaints unit of the national human rights commission. An independent police complaints commission had been established and it would be chaired by a former Supreme Court judge.
   
To ensure that all communities were equally represented in the civil service and the Government, there was no legal provision that privileged one or another ethnic, racial or religious group. Recruitment in the civil service was based on meritocracy, but there were actions taken in favour of minorities.

Since 2011 the Government had taken the responsibility to educate and sensitize the population about human rights, including about the Covenant, through citizens’ bureaus around the island. The national human rights commission and the equal opportunities commission had implemented human rights programmes in youth centres and schools. The forthcoming activities included an update compendium of the concluding observations of human rights bodies, and publishing of a five-year digest on human rights in Mauritius.

Given the high number of non-government organizations in Mauritius, the Government usually asked the Mauritius civil society network to submit their input for the preparation of the country’s periodic report.

Follow-up Questions by Committee Experts

Experts regretted that the delegation had not provided specific answers to their questions. They reiterated questions about police’s fast-track detention powers, criteria for setting up bail, the need to change the Constitution in order to abolish the death penalty, and consultations about the electoral reform.

Based on which criteria was the political sensitivity about certain issues determined? What were the outcomes of the inquiries into deaths in custody? Why was the bill on the freedom of media still pending?

Replies by the Delegation

The delegation clarified that Mauritius had already put a moratorium on the death penalty in 1995 and that all such penalties had been commuted to imprisonment for life. However, the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant required constitutional change. The inquiries into cases of death in custody had still not been concluded.

Concluding Remarks

ISRAHYANANDA DHALLADOO, Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the United Nations Office at Geneva, expressed sincere appreciation for the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the Committee. He assured that the delegation had taken good note of all the insightful comments made by the Committee Experts. The Government would give due consideration to them within the confinements of the Constitution and the multicultural needs of the population of Mauritius. Mr. Dhalladoo reiterated the commitment of Mauritius to the protection of human rights.

YUJI IWASAWA, Committee Chairperson, looked forward to receiving additional information from the delegation within the next 48 hours. He took note of the progress made by Mauritius, namely the adoption of the Equal Opportunity Act, the establishment of the equal opportunity commission and of the independent police complaints commission, as well as efforts towards the electoral reform. Nevertheless, concerns remained about the definition of terrorism, restriction of bail and access to legal counsel by terrorist suspects, gender-based discrimination and women’s participation in public and private sectors, discrimination based on sexual orientation, provisional charges, pre-trial detention, restrictions on the rights of persons under drug charges, and the juvenile justice system.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

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