Overview of the civic space situation
The Seychelles has a National Human Rights Commission, which in 2018 was made independent, self governing, and neutral by a government act to be in compliance with the Paris Principles. In September 2019, the country's Truth, Reconciliation, and National Unity Commission began hearing cases in connection to human rights abuses committed during the 1977 coup d’état. The Seychelles is party to the nine core international human rights treaties. Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for 2025.
The constitution of the Seychelles safeguards freedom of association under Article 23. 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 civil society to operate. Space for dialogue with the government exists and is structured through a national civil society platform.
The constitution of the Seychelles guarantees freedom of expression. Those who criticise or comment on sensitive and controversial topics in the country, however, could face harassment from the authorities. Due to the level of state control over the media, journalists have been known to self-censor. Defamation and libel laws under the Penal Code previously contributed to self-censorship, as journalists feared criminal prosecution; however, in October 2021, the National Assembly decriminalised defamation by removing two related articles from the Penal Code. The 2018 Access to Information Act seeks to improve transparency and accountability and protect the right to access to information per Article 28 of the countrys constitution.
Demonstrations require advanced approval from the police which can impose conditions or deny the assembly on public safety, health, and security grounds. The police can also set conditions on the time and location of demonstrations. Assemblies were restricted during the pandemic period 2020 to 2021. Since the pandemic, largely peaceful protests in the Seychelles have been held over the rising cost of living and growing inequality in socioeconomic terms.