A new commission for child protection has been appointed effective September 15, 2021.

The National Commission for Child Protection (NCCP) was appointed by the Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, Patricia Francourt, who also holds the portfolio responsibility for children’s affairs and child protection.

The Children (Amendment) Act, 2005 makes provision for the appointment of a National Commission for Child Protection.

The Commission is a high-level advisory committee with the mandate to look at all matters concerning children. It brings synergy with other stakeholders to identify gaps in legislations and policies that hinder the responses to address critical issues impacting on the wellbeing of children.

The mandate of the Commission is to:

a)        advise the minister on matters of policy to child protection;

b)        recommend policies and procedures for the review and coordination of activities of various bodies concerned with child protection;

c)        inquire into and report or advise on matters referred to it by the minister.

The chairperson, Ambassador Erna Athanasius (MD), is the Consultant Paediatrician at the Early Childhood Intervention Centre based at the English River Health Centre. The centre provides services for children referred with developmental delays that may be related to the Autism Spectrum of disorders and others related to fetal alcohol syndrome and related global delays.

Dr Athanasius is known as a fervent advocate for children and delivers her service with a passion to ensure the wholesome development and protection of children.

She will be serving her third mandate as chairperson of the Commission and has expressed her honour to serve along with other dedicated leaders who are equally committed and see child protection as their primordial business.

Three newly appointed members join the Commission while the other members within the key child protection sectors have been re-appointed.

The other members of the Commission are:

Linda William-Melanie – principal secretary in the Social Affairs department (vice-chairperson)

Justice Mathilda Twomey – Justice of the Seychelles Court of Appeal

Ted Barbe – Commissioner of Police

Frank Ally – Attorney General

Dr Odile Decomarmond – principal secretary Education Services department

Shirley Choppy – chief executive of Institute of Early Childhood Care and Education

Clive Roucou – principal secretary in the Family department

Yasmine Umarji – chief executive of the National Council for Children

Michelle Marguerite – Human Rights Commissioner

Guylian Mein – Chief Nursing Officer

Beryl Laboudallon – director Social Services

Françoise Larue – chairperson Ceps.

The Commission’s tenure is for two years.

Since 2005, the Commission has been instrumental in advising the government on various policy and legislative changes across sectors that are primordial for child protection and ensure compliance of Seychelles’ obligation to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Some of the remarkable changes are the Police Child Protection Unit that has proved to be more responsive for speedy investigation of reported cases of child abuse. Various amendments to the Children Act was made to align it to the CRC. There are new services and programmes for children within the education and health sectors. Service for child victims in the court system are being re-inforced and the recently set up Child Law Reform Committee has done a commendable job in coming up with the new proposed Sexual Offences Bill.

Minister Francourt wishes the Commission courage as they consult, debate and make proposals to address the myriad complex social developmental issues that may have negative influences on the innocent minds of the young children affecting how they learn and grow up in our society.


Press release from the Ministry of Employment & Social Affairs