The cabinet of ministers last week approved the initial report of the optional protocol of involvement of children in armed conflict, the principal secretary for social affairs, Linda William-Melanie, said in a press conference yesterday.

Seychelles signed the protocol in January 2001 and ratified it in August 2010.

The United Nations Committee for Children's Rights gives a timeline for each country to report on the implementation of its protocol and Seychelles will soon submit its report.

The protocol prohibits the conscription into the military of children under the age of 18, ensures that military recruits are no younger than 16, and prevents recruits aged 16 or 17 from taking a direct part in hostilities.

The treaty also forbids non-state armed groups from recruiting anyone under the age of 18 for any purpose.

“The constitution of Seychelles makes provisions under article 31 to protect minors, and under the Children’s Act and employment law it makes provisions for children against child labour,” said PS William-Melanie.

The optional protocol concerns mainly the Seychelles People’s Defense Forces which states that it cannot recruit anyone under the age of 18.

“In the report that we will be submitting we have highlighted that Seychelles as a sovereign state since its independence has never participated in any international conflict,” PS William-Melanie said.

The report also takes a look at other conventions that protect children such as the Human Rights Commission, National Council for Children and the ministry itself.

“We have reported that all these measures are in place and that Seychelles has met the obligations under this protocol and has made sure that no child under the age of 18 has joined SPDF or has been involved in any armed conflict,” she said.

PS William-Melanie added that this report will soon be submitted to the United Nations committee who is responsible for children's rights.


Christophe Zialor