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A half-day workshop on “Equality, reducing inequalities and promoting human rights”, organized by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in collaboration with the Union delegation European Union (EU) in the Republic of Mauritius, took place this morning at the Maritim Resort & Spa, in Balaclava.

The President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr. Prithvirajsing Roopun, the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius, Mr. Vincent Degert, the President of the NHRC, Mr. D. Seetulsingh, and other personalities were present.

The aim of this workshop was to take stock of what has been achieved in the EU-funded project on “promoting respect for human rights in Mauritius and Rodrigues” and to reflect on the subject of inequalities. especially towards lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and the transgender (LGBT) community.

In his opening speech, the President recalled that the CNDH was created in 2001 with the aim of reiterating the commitment of the Republic of Mauritius to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of every citizen guaranteed by our Constitution and which are at heart of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In this regard, he enumerated the initiatives taken by the Government of Mauritius in the field of Human Rights, namely: regular and fair elections; a strong welfare state with free access to education and health; a strong system of social security benefits and; State aid to provide housing for the needy.

In addition, Mr. Roopun expressed his gratitude to the EU delegation which, as part of its external action to promote democracy and respect for human rights in developing countries since 2017, has funded this project by granting a sum of EUR 200,000 over a period of four years. , at the CNDH.

The President also congratulated the CNDH for the successful implementation of the project and the organization of this workshop because it is in line with the objective of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights and training adopted in 2011 by the General Assembly, which proclaims that everyone has the right to know, seek and receive information on Human Rights and fundamental freedoms as well as to have access to Human Rights, to education and training to develop a Universal Culture of Human Rights.

Speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Roopun said the government has mitigated the effects of the pandemic on vulnerable groups in society through strong policy measures and income support, among others. Nevertheless, he stressed that there is a need for more solidarity and greater collaboration between partners, the public and private sectors as well as civil society in order to bring equality and the search for solutions to cope. at this time of crisis.

For his part, the EU Ambassador underlined that this workshop has the dual objective of celebrating International Human Rights Day 2021 on the theme: “Reducing inequalities and advancing human rights” and is also a closing workshop for the four year project that the EU Funded for the NHRC.

The promotion of human rights is the very essence and objective of the collaboration between the EU and the CNDH, underlined Mr. Degert, and it is in this context that this project began in 2017.

In addition, he said that under this project, more than 17,000 people have already been trained on respect for human rights, both in Mauritius and Rodrigues, and have targeted women, students and young people, police, members of Parliament and the public. in general.

Mr. Degert also underlined the main results and steps taken during the implementation of this project.

These are: the visit of the Vice-President of the Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Ms. Nicole Ameline, last year to sensitize decision-makers and key players in women’s rights; the first public holding of a forum-debate on the issues of the LGBT community between the authorities, civil society and parliamentarians in 2018; the production of two eco-responsible tote bags as testimony of the young generation on the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) and; the preparation of a set of bracelets with the key precepts of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to promote all elements of a living democracy, in particular the freedom of assembly and of expression.

The EU Ambassador indicated that this four-year trip with the CNDH for the promotion of Human Rights ends on December 31, 2021, and, in this regard, he expressed his appreciation for the work carried out by the team. He reiterated the EU’s commitment to continue promoting respect for human rights for all groups and to include them as a priority in the new EU programming cycle for Mauritius for the period 2021-2027. .

As for the president of the NHRC, he informed that the project was due to end in November 2020 but had to be extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and activity restrictions.

The project, he said, focused primarily on the rights of women and children, and was also an opportunity to familiarize Mauritians with their Constitution which includes a chapter specifically devoted to civil and political rights.

Mr. Seetulsingh underlined that the financial contribution from the EU has enabled the CNDH to raise the level of awareness campaigns on human rights education and reach a wider audience through the conduct of ‘workshops and knowledge sharing by foreign experts. Two brochures developed by the NHRC and printed with financial support from the EU have also been distributed and will continue to be distributed in 2022 to schools and other places, he added.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Republic of Mauritius.