CIVICUS

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Seychelles

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Last updated on 01.01.2017 at 12:55

Seychelles - Overview

Current civic space concerns in the Seychelles include the dominance of government voices in the media, the occasional use by security forces of excessive force, along with associated abuses that can include torture, arbitrary detention and long periods of detention, and reported judicial corruption and a lack of judicial independence.

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Association

Registration is required for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which is normally routine and quick, and NGOs are required to submit audited accounts.

Registration is required for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which is normally routine and quick, and NGOs are required to submit audited accounts. Apart from this, there are few reported restrictions on the ability of CSOs to operate, although some states recommended that improvements in the freedom of association be made during the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Universal Periodic Review of the Seychelles in January 2016. Space for dialogue with government exists and is structured through a national civil society platform.

Peaceful Assembly

The Public Order Act of 2013 replaced the colonial era 1959 Public Order Act, but 18 sections or sub-sections were found unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in July 2015.

The Public Order Act of 2013 replaced the colonial era 1959 Public Order Act, but 18 sections or sub-sections were found unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in July 2015, including restrictions on the holding of assemblies and provisions that the police could seize footage of the policing of assemblies and the president could impose curfews. A new Public Assembly Act was therefore passed in 2015. This was an improvement on the 2013 Act, but it still contains some restrictive provisions, including the need to give five days’ notice to the police for assemblies, and powers to the head of the police to break up an assembly on broad grounds such as public health, morality and safety, as well as to set conditions on the timing and location of assemblies.

Expression

While the constitution of the Seychelles guarantees the freedom of expression, it also contains a high number of exceptions.

While the constitution of the Seychelles guarantees the freedom of expression, it also contains a high number of exceptions. Political figures and public officials have taken advantage of strict libel laws to bring a number of defamation suits when criticised in the media, and this has led to the imposition of some heavy libel fines on journalists and caused some media outlets to shut down. Much of the media sector, including the major daily newspaper and only TV station, is state-controlled and accused of pro-government bias, and several other newspapers have political party ties. There have been instances of threats against, attacks on and brief detentions of people who posted comments opposing the government. Death threats were made against an activist who hosted an online TV show in 2015. While there is a Media Commission, a statutory body created to preserve media freedom, many citizens doubt its impartiality and autonomy. There is currently no freedom of information law.