Human Rights & Democracy

Speech of Marjaana Sall, Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius and for the Republic of Seychelles for the Celebration of International Human Rights Day

Mauritius , 11/12/2017 - 08:42, UNIQUE ID: 171211_5
Speeches of the Ambassador

Ambassador Sall participated with the Honourable Maneesh Gobin, Attorney General, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Institutional reforms in the opening ceremony of workshop to mark Human Rights Day 2017.


Honourable Maneesh Gobin, Attorney General, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Institutional reforms

His Excellency Mr Keith Allan, British High Commissioner

Mrs Christine N Umutoni, UN Resident Coordinator

Mr Dhirajsing Seetulsingh, Chairperson National Human Rights Commission

Mr Vinod Appadoo, Commissioner of Prisons,

Mr Beekun, Deputy Commissioner of Police

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen


I am very pleased to be here with you this morning for the celebration of the International Human Rights Day, which was on 10 December.

As most of you know, the respect for human rights forms part of the principles and values guiding the development action of the European Union.  These underlying principles are democracy, rule of law, universality of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity and principles of equality and solidarity.

This year, Human Rights Day will be used to kick off a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universality is one of the essential characteristics of human rights. Human rights apply to all human beings, regardless of race, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability or socio-economic background.

Human rights are also inter-dependent and inter related and should be implemented in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing.. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

In 2017, the European Union adopted a new development policy called "A European Consensus for Development".  This new development policy, which is the European response to Agenda 2030 and to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, reinforces the respect for human rights as a guiding principle, with special emphasis on the protection and fulfilment of women's and girls' rights specifically.  . 


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

We are already implementing this new development policy in the Republic of Mauritius. both at strategic level and at the level of our cooperation programmes.

The local Human Rights Country Strategy 2016-2020, guides the EU actions in the field of human rights in Mauritius.  We have an annual political dialogue with the Government of Mauritius on human rights.  We also conduct regular dialogue with all stakeholders, including the human rights defenders in Mauritius.

This is how we identified five key priorities for human rights in Mauritius, namely:

  • Women – reduction of gender based violence
  • Children –reduction of violence against children
  • LGBTI issues
  • Rule of law
  • Institutional Strengthening

We are committed to working with the Government of Mauritius in these five areas.

We are providing funds to the National Human Rights Commission for education and awareness raising for respect of human rights, with a focus on rights of women and children.  This action attempts to contribute to reducing gender based violence and violence against children. 

Today, we are starting this action with a workshop to sensitise law enforcement officers on a rights based approach.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

I would like to commend the Government of the Republic of Mauritius for having created a ministry that is responsible for human rights.  This is testimony to the importance given to respect for human rights. 

I wish the very best to the new Minister in his endeavour.  He can rely on EU support in furthering respect for human rights.

I would also like to congratulate the Government of Mauritius for being first in Africa under the Mo Ibrahim Index for good governance for several years in a row, including in 2017.  However there is always room for improvement.  The Mo Ibrahim report shows that Mauritius can still do better in terms of participation of women in politics, as well as freedom of expression and freedom of association.

I would like to seize the opportunity to thank the National Human Rights Commission for the excellent work done in organising this workshop today.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Rest assured that the European Union and its Member States will keep being at the side of those who stand up for human rights every day, as human rights defenders face increasing pressure and threats in many countries across the globe. We do not only pay tribute to them, but we actively support their work and will continue to do so.

We believe that the full respect of all human rights is a precondition for any democratic and resilient society, for sustainable development, security and long term peace.

Today, the European Union and its Member States join the United Nations and many others in calling upon states and people to Stand up for Human Rights on the occasion of Human Rights Day 2017.

I thank you for your kind attention.

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