U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Mauritius
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||30 January 1998|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Mauritius, 30 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa1b4.html [accessed 25 April 2014]|
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
MAURITIUSThe Republic of Mauritius, a parliamentary democracy since 1968, is governed by a Prime Minister, a Council of Ministers, and a National Assembly. The President, who is nominated by the Prime Minister and confirmed by the National Assembly, serves as Head of State, with largely ceremonial powers. Fair and orderly national and local elections, supervised by an independent commission, take place at regular intervals. There are numerous political parties and partisan politics is open and robust. The judiciary is independent. A paramilitary Special Mobile Force under civilian control is responsible for internal security. This force, under the command of the Commissioner of Police, is backed by a general duty police force. Both forces are largely apolitical and generally well trained. While human rights violations are infrequent, members of the security forces committed some abuses. The economy is based on labor-intensive, export-oriented manufacturing (mainly textiles), as well as sugar and tourism. The standard of living is high, with average per capita gross domestic product of approximately $3,400 per year. The Government is successfully diversifying the economy by promoting investment in new sectors such as information technology and financial services. The Government generally respects the human rights of its citizens, but problem areas remain. There continued to be occasional reports that police abused suspects and detainees as well as delayed their access to defense counsel. Discrimination and violence against women is a problem. In a significant step, in May the Government passed legislation outlawing domestic violence. Child labor remains a problem. In a positive step, the Government decided to introduce human rights education in secondary schools and is now preparing a curriculum for introduction in 1998. In November police inspectors participated in the first human rights training seminar for law enforcement officials in the country.