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Seychelles: Treatment of members of the opposition parties (Seychellois Party, Democratic Party, United Opposition Party and Seychelles National Party) (2003 - August 2005)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 6 September 2005
Citation / Document Symbol SYC100542.FE
Reference 1
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Seychelles: Treatment of members of the opposition parties (Seychellois Party, Democratic Party, United Opposition Party and Seychelles National Party) (2003 - August 2005), 6 September 2005, SYC100542.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/45f147a816.html [accessed 28 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Seychelles People's Progressive Front (Front progressiste du peuple seychellois, FPPS) was the only legal party in Seychelles until 1992 legislation legalized opposition parties, of which the Seychelles National Party (SNP) – formerly the United Opposition Party (US Aug. 2005) – and the Democratic Party are the most prominent (Freedom House 11 Aug. 2005). In the 2002 legislative elections, "judged to be free and fair by international observers," the SNP won 11 of the 34 seats (Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 3; Electionworld.org 19 Oct. 2004), while it collected more than 40 per cent of the vote in the 2001 presidential elections (ibid.; Freedom House 11 Aug. 2005; US Aug. 2005).

According to Freedom House, the "SNP leadership claims that its sympathizers are harassed by police and are victims of public sector job-related security investigations" (11 Aug. 2005). "Some members of opposition parties claimed that they lost their government jobs because of their political beliefs and were at a disadvantage when applying for government licenses and loans" (Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 3). The FPPS benefits from "a pervasive system of political patronage, [and has] control over government jobs, contracts, and resources" (US Aug. 2005).

"[W]hile generally permitting [FPPS] rallies, the police on occasion refused to grant such permission to the SNP" (Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 2b; see also Freedom House 11 Aug. 2005). On 14 March 2004, in the streets of the capital, Victoria, 500 opposition supporters protested "living costs and alleged corruption" (AFP 14 Mar. 2004).

Moreover, the SNP weekly publication Regar "has been sued repeatedly for libel under broad constitutional restrictions on free expression" (Freedom House 11 Aug. 2005; see also Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 2a). In August 2003, Jean-François Ferrari, sponsor of the SNP and owner of the Regar paper, was arrested for "taking part in a protest by the SNP against the new Goods and Services Tax" (Reuters 2 Oct. 2003). France Albert René, then president of [M1]Seychelles, denied "the arrest of opposition figure Jean-François Ferrari and the murder of a woman related to Ferrari's wife were politically motivated" (ibid.; see also EIU 20 Jan. 2004). In September 2003, members of the European Parliament's Committee on Development Co-Operation "issued a statement expressing concern about 'unexplained murders' and 'violent attacks' involving people with links to the SNP, although it concede[d] that these may be no more than coincidental" (ibid.).

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the SNP's strong showing in the 2002 legislative elections did not give it any "real power" (15 Dec. 2003). The SNP therefore agreed to cooperate with the FPPS government in certain areas, such as "depoliticising the civil service and the state media" (EIU 15 Dec. 2003).

The SNP held its annual convention on 28 August 2005 at the International Conference Centre in Victoria, during which it announced the creation of "a new body for young people" (BBC 30 Aug. 2005).

No specific information on the treatment of members of the Democratic Party, the Seychellois Party or any other opposition party could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Agence France-Presse (AFP). 14 March 2004. "Seychelles Opposition Holds Protest March in Victoria." (Factiva)

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 30 August 2005. "Seychelles: Opposition Party Holds Annual Convention." (BBC Monitoring Africa/Factiva)

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004. 28 February 2005. "Seychelles." United States Department of State. [Accessed 31 Aug. 2005]

Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). 20 January 2004. "Seychelles Politics: Human Right's Record Under Scrutiny." (Factiva)
_____. 15 December 2003. "Seychelles: Political Forces." (Factiva)

Electionworld.org. 19 October 2004. "Elections in the Seychelles." [Accessed 31 Aug. 2005]

Freedom House. 11 August 2005. "Seychelles." Freedom in the World 2005. [Accessed 31 Aug. 2005]

Reuters. 2 October 2003. "Seychelles Denies Arrest, Murder Are Political." (Factiva)

United States (US). August 2005. Department of State, Bureau of African Affairs. "Background Note: Seychelles." [Accessed 6 Sept. 2005]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), Democratic Party of Seychelles, ECOI.net, Jeune Afrique/L'Intelligent, Libération Afrique, Seychelles Nation, Seychelles National Party, Seychelles.net, SeyNews.com, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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