The chargée d’affaires at the US embassy based in Port Louis, Mauritius, Judes DeBaere, paid a courtesy call on the Minister for Employment & Social Affairs, Patricia Francourt, at her office at Independence House on Tuesday.

Also present was the principal secretary for social affairs, Linda William Melanie. The visit is a continuation of her meetings with various ministers as part of her mission to Seychelles, following the election of the new administration.

Ms DeBaere was accompanied by a delegation of other staff of the US embassy in Mauritius, namely political chief Andrew E. Kelly; political officer Christian J. Nicholas; US embassy security cooperation assistant and the two facilitators Dr Suzie Nelson and Dr Baker, all US citizens.

Welcoming Ms DeBaere and her delegation, Minister Francourt expressed on behalf of the government of Seychelles her gratitude to the US government for the on-going assistance provided in various areas of cooperation, capacity development and grants for different projects to Seychelles.

Chargée d’affaires DeBaere congratulated Minister Francourt on her appointment and expressed her satisfaction on the excellent relationship between the government of the United State of America and the government of Seychelles.

The discussion between the parties centered on the awareness training workshop on gender-based violence (GBV) held this week and in which staff of the social affairs department took part alongside other professionals from various ministries including civil society.

The meeting concurred that statistics gathered from countries across the world including Seychelles indicate that gender-based violence is the power inequality between human beings and its impact on individuals, families and the society is overwhelming and should not be understated.

Minister Francourt remarked that “Conventions and legislations alone are not enough to combat GBV as there is a need to look deeper at the socio-cultural and psychological context of why it happens”.

Among other points raised, she reiterated that moving forward the fight against GBV should not be treated in isolation but should be at all levels. It should be integrated in teacher training curriculum and that of other professional cadres so that the younger generation will at a very early age be part of the behaviour modification chain model.

Minister Francourt emphasised that the GBV training came at an opportune time for various stakeholders to equip themselves with added knowledge to respond to issues of gender-based violence ahead of the Domestic Violence Act 2020 coming into force. To note, social workers of the social affairs department will have a major intervention role once the Act is in force.

Commenting on her observations of the two-day training, Dr Nelson echoed that there is the motivation to address gender-based violence in Seychelles and there are certain programmes and interventions in place.

She however noted the need to make things better today to ensure that the next generation is better educated and aware to break the cycle of violence.

Dr Nelson expressed the need for perpetrator intervention programmes alongside victims support as they require as much attention to rehabilitate them.

On his part, Dr Baker mentioned that he sees a lot of strengths but now stakeholders need to come together to use the strengths to leverage things that have been learnt and bring the synergy to better address GBV.

The meeting ended with both Minister Francourt and chargée d’affaires DeBaere expressing their appreciation for the meeting and agreeing for further cooperation and support in capacity building and skills enhancement from the US embassy Mauritius to Seychelles.


Press release from the Ministry of Employment & Social Affairs