Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC)
RE: Notice of Alleged Apartheid Practice in Republic of Seychelles
Dear Mr.Dr. Tomaz Augusto Salomão Executive Secretary:
The Seychelles Freedom Party (SFP) a user of the SADC Group is an opposition party in the Seychelles that today, is leading at the forefront of the advancement, respect, and promotion of human dignity in the Seychelles.
The SFP has exposed the non compliance of the ruling party to international human rights obligations.
The SFP has exposed human trafficking activity in the Seychelles.
The SFP has exposed abuse of Police authority in the Seychelles, and exposed practices that compromise our quest as a people for Democracy.
The Seychelles as you know is a former one party state, whose current regime has very deep roots in dictatorship rule.
The Commonwealth Observer Group reported in the May 2011 Presidential Elections, that “the Seychelles is yet to make a transition from one party state [dictatorship] to multiparty democracy since 1992”. (Emphasis provided)
It is in this context that we write to you.
1. Seychelles Regime Rooted in Dictatorship Culture
It is this same regime, that year after year, has been single handedly responsible for covering up corruption and nepotism in Seychelles, which consequently has led to the Seychelles being listed as one of the most prolific money laundering bases in the World. We are also poorly listed as a business friendly country being placed at the bottom third of international indexes instead of being placed at the top Ten percent, which is possible for a micro state with under 90,000 inhabitants.
A. Swiss National Bank Confirms $2.1 Billion Deposits
Most recently, the Seychelles outpaced Kenya, Tanzania, and other continental African states in alleged money laundering efforts as highlighted recently by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) who declared in a press release, that the SNB confirms receiving $2.1 Billion in its accounts deposited by Seychelles Citizens.
Who are those citizens with so much money in Seychelles, we ask today? Perhaps SADC can assist us to find them, as Seychelles is indeed a small country.
2. Universal Human Rights Not being Respected by The State
Today, like in the one party state dictator era many Universal Human Rights go un-respected in Seychelles.
A. Attempted Jailing of Opponents
For Nineteen (19) years, Country Human Rights Reports due annually under international treaties and obligations, by this regime, have not been filed. Only last May, the Seychelles was SANCTIONED by the UN Human Rights Commission for non compliance with Report filing.
Yet the Attorney General has time over and over criminally prosecuted the leaders of the opposition.
Mr. Jean Paul Isaac, Secretary General of Seychelles Freedom Party and Mr. Ralph Volcere , leader of the NDP, are Two (2) cases alone in 2012 wherein political opposition leaders have been charged criminally and prison sentences sought by the Attorney General.
B. No Right To Assemble in Practice
For example, the Right to Public Assembly, is stamped out by force repeatedly. There are numerous cases that go un reported by the Government of Seychelles on the main island of Mahe: 1. Chinese Workers strike- Police intimidated workers and kicked them grabbed them while they sat down in a peaceful huddle; Gurhkas were used; 2. La Misere residents protest met with soldiers brandishing AK-47’s ;3. October 3rd bludgeoned beating of the then Leader of Opposition, Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan, though he later took a low ball monetary settlement, that poses in question the value of a Seychellois citizen’s head when bludgeoned by the State.
C. Limited Right To Freedom of Movement
For example, the Right to Freedom of Movement in Seychelles is currently restricted to fishermen, boaters, picnic goers who are selectively denied repeatedly the Right to Movement and Access on public beaches on Mahe, Praslin, Fregate Island, Felicite Island, Desroches Island, and North Island, D’Arros Island.
In Seychelles all beaches are public by law.
Most recently this Apartheid styled policy has been attacked by the Chamber of Commerce led by once a stalwart supporter of the regime: Dr. Ramadoss turned regime critic, the Chamber of Commerce Chairman. Dr. Ramadoss resigned from party membership and resigned from Central Committee (CC) membership.
Only last week Dr. Ramadoss met with a delegation of boaters and operators in the Minister of Tourism office (Mr. Alain St. Ange officiated) to discuss this single issue and no conclusion was aired in the press, the matter went silent. Minister St. Ange has gone silent on this issue as well until today.
This single issue which transgresses on the Freedom of Movement and the Freedom of Travel, has been unresolved for the entire decade of 1990’s and beyond, until today, 2012.
D. Discriminatory Salary Practice
The ruling party PL has for many years practiced and condoned the practice of allowing disproportionate low salaries for Seychellios, who are equally qualified as their higher paid foreigner counter parts.
The Minister of Employment Ms. Idith Alexander has publically said that her government does not encourage discriminatory pay scale that are adverse to Seychellois Citizens and benefit foreigners upwardly in pay.
However, in practice, the abuse is condoned by the ruling party, and the practice ignored, has created a De Jure varying pay scale scheme similar to what was ongoing during the South Africa Apartheid era, wherein Whites were paid higher wages then Blacks for the same job.
Not a single law has been enforced to stamp out the discriminatory practice in Seychelles since the one party dictatorship era.
E. The Desroches Island Apartheid Allegation
In his book Fear and Loathing in Paradise, author Alex Foulkes a conservationist from Scotland, summarized, in part on his expose of the practice of Apartheid policy in Desroches Island, Seychelles:
“Apartheid does not happen spontaneously like bad weather conditions”-Jonathan Kozel.
Inference being from this profound quote is that it [Apartheid] grows, slowly and methodically born out of a will to control and rule with a tight iron fist.
Today, we all know that this practice, is very in humane and it is very wrong.
Any regime that should impose any Apartheid practice in Africa, must be sanctioned to prevent the spread of this sick mental state, that reduces the human spirit to the output of metered donkeys per day.
F. Allegation of Apartheid in Desroches Island Seychelles
Mr. Foulkes in his book expose alleges that on Desroches Island, and possibly other Island Development Corporation (IDC) islands [parastatal legal apparatus tasked with running outer islands for Seychelles government], the practice of Apartheid is ongoing now for many years, and definitely, ongoing according to his personal experience as a conservationist stationed on that island for the Island Conservation Society (ICS).
Foulkes alleges in his book that the South African foreigner Manager Mr. Mark Leslie of Desroches Island Lodge (DIL) and Mr. Glenny Savy of IDC, by policy and rules of the grounds, do not allow people (including Seychellois) to travel freely around their own islands which form part of the Republic of Seychelles.
Mr. Foulkes likens this practice to the Apartheid policies in South Africa under the past white regimes, discriminating against Black and Colored South Africans.
Mr. Foulkes further alleges that some South Africans are establishing a replica of the old Apartheid regime in another part of Africa. This time, inferring it is Desroches Island, in the Seychelles. SADC will recall that President Jacob Zuma visited Desroches Island recently to attempt to negotiate a settlement for the Madagascar political crisis.
Mr. Foulkes says that on Desroches Island, “a PASS LAW” is in place to facilitate movement by workers and residents. He rationalizes that this “PASS” system was used in Apartheid South Africa “to control movement, back and forth of Black and Colored South Africans and they were designed to ensure that it was not only difficult for people to gather, but also, so dissent could be stamped out.”
It is worth noting that dissent is normal to humanity or the human condition. Any civilized state must respect, tolerate dissent in order that it may grow and flourish. For instance, in Science, if researchers always accepted as absolute only that which came before them, Science would not evolve. So too is the condition of the state and any society. Dissent, allowed to air, is healthy for national development political evolution and progress. I would even say it is absolutely necessary.
For evidence of this alleged racial profiling and discriminatory policy in place in Desroches Island, Mr. Foulkes cites some facts: “of 150 staff, 25 are Seychellois, or only 17% of the work force”. This is indeed a shameful statistic.
No management staffs are Seychellois according to him. Indeed, he may have a case.
South Africa President Jacob Zuma visited Desroches Island to negotiate a resolution to the Madagascar leadership crisis Two (2) months ago. The regime in Seychelles passed Scr. 7 Million supplementary budget to cover this trip and expenses so related. However, in spite of European Union funding for political election reform in country, not a single cent could be made available to the opposition participating in the reform process which up to know, is long and drawn out.
This too is part of the strategy of eliminating dissent in the country, which can be tied in to the Apartheid allegation if found to be true.
Additionally, on the island of Desroches, there are 200 IDC staffers all Indians according to Mr. Foulkes, they build houses for rich South Africans.
Given the seriousness of these allegations, and corresponding policies in different facets in play in Seychelles as cited above;
Given the great public interest of having an Apartheid free society in all of Africa, the Indian Ocean and Seychelles;
I write, to implore SADC that immediate steps be taken by the regional organization to initiate investigation into this serious allegation of Apartheid being practiced in Seychelles and in particular these outer islands, which we citizens do not have reasonable safe access too .
If it is found that the allegations posed by Mr. Foulkes are true, we ask that SADC SUSPEND Seychelles as a voting member as per its own rules, and SANCTION the Republic from financial assistance as per its rules, until such time that Seychellois are deemed in fact and in law, to be equal in their own country and no policy of Apartheid be it De Facto or De Jure, be in place in this country and the regime abandons such dehumanizing practices, which have its roots in the one party state dictatorship.
Let us join hands to stop this social evil practice in its tracks, wherever it may surface before it turns up in another country in Africa.
The Seychelles Freedom Party