From 19 to 21 January 2015, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, undertook an advocacy visit to the Republic of Seychelles. The purpose of the visit was to meet with government officials to advocate for the adoption of an access to information law in accordance with regional and international standards on access to information as embodied in the Model Law on Access to Information for Africa (Model Law). The Special Rapporteur was accompanied during this visit by 3 expert members of the Working Group which developed the Model Law.
During her visit, the Special Rapporteur met with high-level government officials including: His Excellency, President James Michel, president of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Jean-Paul Adam, Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Justice D. Karunakaran, Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Honourable Dr. Patrick Herminie, Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Rony Govinden, Attorney General, as well as Mr Ibrahim Afif, Chair of the Seychelles Media Commission and other members of the Commission.
The Special Rapporteur and her delegation also held a meeting with civil society organisations, including members of the recently constituted Citizen Engagement Platform of Seychelles (CESP).
An important outcome of the Special Rapporteur’s visit was the agreement by stakeholders to hold a consultation to discuss the need for the adoption of an access to information law and the process to be adopted in formulating such law. This meeting is to organised by the Seychelles Media Commission in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur.
This advocacy visit is part of a three phased project funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) being implemented by the Centre for Human Rights on behalf of the Special Rapporteur. The second phase of the project, which this visit falls under, involves advocacy visits by the Special Rapporteur to 5 selected African countries with existing or proposed Bills on access to information, to meet with high-level government officials and encourage the speedy adoption of an access to information law, which conforms to the Model Law.