- According to the government of Seychelles, none of the archipelago's citizens are registered as political asylum seekers abroad. The semi-democratic state notes that "because of the prevailing political stability, Seychellois can therefore not be granted asylum status in places like the UK." The archipelago was generally "classified as a safe place."
The Seychelles government informed about this prestigious situation yesterday. The authorities referred to the UK-based social worker Sylvette Collins, who had said this on the island of Praslin Saturday, when she launched a new association which plans to highlight the plight of abused women and children on the Seychellois island.
- We receive requests for asylum from all around the world, but not from Seychelles, Ms Collins was quoted as saying, "and none from here would be entertained because this is classified as a safe place," she added. Ms Collins works with unaccompanied asylum seeking minors in Hillingdon, UK.
Seychelles is a small, politically stable country with a limited democracy. Since ex-President France-Albert René came to power in a coup in 1971, the only power exchange took place one year ago, when Mr René retired and handed over powers to his Vice-President, James Michel.
While ex-President René's one-party rule a long time ago was substituted by multi-party elections, the Seychellois opposition has been given little room. The press mostly remains under state control and independent media exercise self-censorship. Discontent nevertheless is not widespread and three decades of non-violent practice have left the island state with a reputation of social peace and stability.
Authorities thus put great emphasis on Ms Collins' remarks regarding political stability. Potential Seychellois asylum seekers would have no possibility of entering the UK or other European countries, as there was no need to flee the country. Other grave problems, rather than political violence, however still plagued the Seychelles, Ms Collins pointed out.
Ms Collins and the women who launched the new association, Lavwa Fanm, said that many Seychellois children suffer abuse in the hands of their parents, and many women are abused by their male partners, but the concerns of those who suffer such fates on Praslin Island hardly reach an organisation that can help. "That's why we are launching Lavwa Fanm, which is a non-politic body," she said.
She said that the 30 women who turned up and a similar number who shied away, felt that family support for victims of domestic violence in Seychelles is concentrated on Mahé Island, where the capital Victoria is housed. "The women here are therefore not even used to asking for or getting support so they are shy to do so," Ms Collins said.
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