GIS - 23 June, 2017: The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted on 22 June 2017 in New York that the dispute between the United Kingdom and Mauritius over disputed island territory of Chagos Archipelago be referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).By a margin of 94 to 15 countries, delegates supported a resolution of Mauritius to seek an advisory opinion from the ICJ in The Hague on the legal status of Chagos. The Mauritian delegation to the UNGA was headed by the Minister Mentor, Minister of Defence, Minister for Rodrigues, Sir Anerood Jugnauth.The Chagos Archipelago was excised from the territory of Mauritius prior to independence. This excision was in breach of international law and UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 containing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, which called for a speedy and unconditional end to colonialism.In a statement at the United Nations on 22 June on the draft resolution tabled under item 87 of UNGA agenda, Sir Anerood recalled that the dismemberment of the territory of Mauritius without the freely given consent of Mauritius - in circumstances of patent and obvious duress - and the removal of the inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago, with no possibility of return, were acts constituting breaches of peremptory norms of international law, namely the violation of the principle of self-determination and the breach of fundamental principles of human rights.“No amount of monetary compensation and no agreement to that effect can override these general principles of peremptory international law, not the least the right of self-determination”, he said.Speaking about security concerns evoked by the UK, the Minister Mentor stressed that Mauritius is very much concerned about security in the world. Mauritius does not have any problem with the military base, but that instead the decolonisation process should be completed, he said.‘We want to assure the United Kingdom and the United States of America that the exercise of effective control by Mauritius over the Chagos Archipelago would not, in any way, pose any threat to the military base. Mauritius is committed to the continued operation of the base in Diego Garcia under a long-term framework, which Mauritius stands ready to enter into with the concerned parties’, he added.
GIS - 23 June, 2017: Enterprise Mauritius is participating in the Southern African International Trade Exhibition (Saitex 2017) which is being held from 25 to 27 June 2017 at the Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa. Saitex is a multi-sectorial annual trade exhibition aiming at facilitating intra Africa trade.This year, 15 local enterprises from the textile & apparel, agro, chemical and light engineering sectors are participating in Saitex 2017. The objectives are to enhance the visibility of Mauritius as a reliable supplier of a range of quality and competitive products; increase business exchanges; expand networks and business contacts; and consolidate market share.SAITEXSaitex is one of the biggest business and networking opportunities events in the continent, showcasing a wide range of products that includes nonfood retail products with special sectors featuring tools, equipment and essentials, hardware and building supplies as well as house wares and home wares, decorating items, interior designing items and much more. It showcases over 900 companies from 45 countries worldwide and over 20 000 visitors are expected to attend.Africa represents a huge opportunity for trade as it approaches a one trillion-dollar annual marketplace with more than a billion consumers and a fast-growing middle class with increasingly diverse tastes. Saitex breaks down barriers and provides direct access to thousands of buyers from across the continent.Described as the only multisectoral event of its kind in Africa, Saitex is the platform showcasing products for some 600 companies from 30 countries. Visitors’ profiles include importers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, agents and entrepreneurs.
GIS - 23 June, 2017: The historical importance of the Moulin à Poudre Cultural Landscape as well as the archaeological survey results were discussed during a seminar held yesterday in Pamplemousses, following a research project carried out on site.The findings of this project, undertaken at the initiative of the Mauritius Research Council under its Unsolicited Research and Innovation Grant Scheme, highlight the necessity of preserving the exceptional cultural heritage of Mauritius. The research team comprised Dr (Mrs) V Teelock, Associate Professor, at the Centre for Research on Slavery and Indenture, University of Mauritius (UoM); and Mrs J. Mungur-Medhi, National Heritage Fund and collaborator at the Centre for Research on Slavery and Indenture, UoM.The archaeological survey and excavations were carried out in 2016-2017 in three separate field seasons. Results bring out previously unknown structures and features on an earlier history, that of the Forges de Mon Désir (pre-1774). Findings also shed light on later structures such as a Buddhist temple built for Kandyan prisoners held there (1830s), and the remains of the later prison including quarters for female prisoners (1830s) and cells for solitary confinement.The research adopted a multidisciplinary approach combining archival research, archaeological survey, architectural documentation and topographical surveying techniques, along with student participation.The Moulin à Poudre Cultural Landscape Project aims at studying and adding value to this historical and distinctive site not only in Mauritius but across Southwest Indian Ocean. In fact, no other 18th century colonial gunpowder factory was established in France’s colonial empire. Both the concept and design of the mill were entirely Mauritian, given that its operation depended on highly skilled and trained Government-owned slaves under military supervision.Gunpowder was manufactured in Mauritius during the French period for use in the slave trade, on board of ships and during French wars. Mauritius was the only French colony to produce gunpowder and this is what makes the site of the Moulin à Poudre unique.The Pamplemousses Moulin à Poudre started operating in 1775 and was closed down when the British took over the island in 1810. It produced enough gunpowder to supply the island and passing ships and was also put on sale on the local market.
GIS - 22 June, 2017: Enterprise Mauritius is leading a delegation of local apparel manufacturers who will be participating for the second time at Fashion SVP on 27 and 28 June 2017 at Olympia Exhibition Centre in London.Thirteen manufacturers comprising four large enterprises and nine SMEs will be showcasing to UK buyers their latest collections of a wide range of products including T-Shirts, Shirts, knitwear, denim, and jersey wear.Fashion SVP is Europe’s unique sourcing event, with an international show presenting over 120 leading fashion producers from the UK and 21 overseas countries, as well as training seminars, trend focus features, product demonstrations, fashion clinics, a jobs’ forum and prime networking with the fashion industry.The fair attracts buyers from large famous European retailers to smaller chains, clothing brands, wholesalers and boutique labels. In 2016, the fair attracted buyers from leading upmarket companies such as Debenhams, Monsoon, Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, Boden, Jaeger, River Island, and Harrods, amongst others.Local operators participating in Fashion SVP have benefitted from the expertise of Trendstop Ltd, a consultancy firm based in London whose expertise lies in forecasting latest trends and creating new designs for the UK market, to help in the realisation of new collections.Given the dynamic nature of the fashion industry, Enterprise Mauritius has solicited assistance from Trendstop Ltd so that Mauritian operators can anticipate what is coming for the next season. Renowned retailers have already confirmed visits to the Mauritian stands to take cognizance of the products offered.Textile and apparel: significant contributor to GDPThe textile and apparel industry has been a major contributor to Mauritian GDP. The UK remains an important market for Mauritian exports, accounting for over 15% of total domestic exports. Over the years, textile and apparel has emerged as a flexible sector adapting to latest technologies to be competitive. Mauritius has been working with top UK retailers such as Arcadia Group, NEXT, Debenhams, Harrods, and River Island, among others.To further encourage exportation Government has introduced the Speed-to-Market scheme which is being implemented by Enterprise Mauritius. The aim is to give a boost to textile and apparel exports to European countries and to enhance product delivery in terms of Speed-to-Market.
GIS - 22 June, 2017: Making businesses disaster and climate resilient by designing a disaster risk reduction plan for business was the focus of a workshop which opened this morning at Le Voilà Hotel in Bagatelle.The two-day workshop which is organised at the initiative of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Centre, in collaboration with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction office, with the opportunity to identify priority actions and share good practices in disaster risk reduction, the workshop also expounds onThe following themes will be discussed during the workshop: understanding disaster risk reduction trends and frameworks; current and future risk for businesses to map threats and opportunities; the impact of disaster and climate risk on businesses; the disaster Risk Reduction Plan for business; and the disaster and climate resilient business in action, with a view to helping businesses to develop smart indicators for future investment.In an address at the opening ceremony, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity, and Environment and Sustainable Development, Mrs Nema Devi Goorah, recalled the need for both private and public sectors to work together on disaster reduction and risk management activities to ensure the sustainability development efforts and reduce loss of life.She further added that, in its endeavour to better manage disasters risks, Mauritius stands guided by the Sendai Framework. Even though the challenges are huge for Mauritius in terms of hazards we are continuing to build resilience against disasters.The implementation of an Early Warning and Emergency Alert System (EWEAS) project, designed to improve regional infrastructure, policies and protocols to strengthen our capacity to predict and prepare for emergencies and natural hazards, thereby improving resilience and disaster reducing risks and losses, is expected to start this year, she said.
Mauritius is committed to develop a National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Policy, Strategic Framework and Action Plan. An Early Warning is being implemented to provide accurate and timely advice to the public and key stakeholders in case of disasters, said Mrs Goorah.
GIS - 22 June, 2017: The Minister of Financial Services, Good Governance and Institutional Reforms, Mr Dharmendar Sesungkur, chaired yesterday at Sicom Tower in Ebène, a meeting on the signature of the OECD Multilateral Convention on Tax Treaty relating to BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Measures.Several private sector global business operators participated in the discussions. The aim was to exchange information, chart the way forward and see how to better protect the interests of not only the local financial services sector but that of Mauritius also.In a statement following the meeting, Minister Sesungkur recalled that the global business and the financial services sector represent a big chunk of Mauritius’ economic activity and contribute significantly by employing, directly or indirectly, around 20 000 professionals. The financial services sector contributes much in wealth creation and ensures the economic progress of Mauritius in terms of harnessing on investments, he said.According to the Minister, there are a number of rules and regulations that are soon to enter into force on the international level and that includes the Multilateral Instrument being implemented by the OECD which will be impacting on our financial services sector as well as the EU’s BEPS. Hence, the importance of exchanging information with stakeholders of the financial services sector to address these challenges in the coming months so as to ensure the development of the sector, he pointed out.Government, said the Minister, proposes to analyse the suggestions put forward by the private sector global business operators and see how Mauritius’ proposal to the OECD can be enhanced to better safeguard the country’s interest and that of the financial services sector.Multilateral ConventionOn 7 June 2017, over 70 Ministers and other high-level representatives participated in the signature ceremony of the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. Signatories include jurisdictions from all continents and all levels of development.Mauritius has expressed the intent to sign the Convention and other jurisdictions are also actively working towards signature.The innovative multilateral convention provides for the swift implementation of a series of tax treaty measures to update the existing network of bilateral tax treaties and reduce opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises. It also offers the tools to implement mandatory binding arbitration, tackle hybrid mismatches, and stop artificial avoidance of “permanent establishment” status in countries. The convention is in line with the strategy to help restore citizens’ trust in the fairness and transparency of global governance systems and the legitimacy of the processes underpinning global integration.
- GIS - 21 June, 2017: Mauritius will host the first Meeting of the Compliance Committee of the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA) and the 4th Meeting of the Parties from 23 to 30 June 2017.The Committee will monitor, review and assess the implementation of, and compliance with the Agreement and make recommendations to the Meeting of the Parties on new compliance and management measures.During the 4th Meeting of Parties, participants will review the state of fishery resources, promote and coordinate research activities. They will also evaluate the impact of fishing on the fishery resources and the marine environment, formulate and adopt conservation and management measures. The adoption of generally recommended international minimum standards for the responsible conduct of fishing operations is also on the agenda.Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries AgreementSIOFA is a multilateral agreement adopted in July 2006 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation for the conservation and sustainable use of fishery resources in the waters beyond national jurisdiction in the Southern Indian Ocean.The main objective is to ensure the long term conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources in the area of competence through cooperation among the Contracting Parties. Another objective is to promote the sustainable development of fisheries, taking into account the needs of developing States bordering the competence area, and in particular the least-developed among them and the Small Island Developing States.
GIS - 21 June, 2017: An exhibition of hydrographic assets, nautical products and recent works undertaken by the Hydrography Unit of the Ministry of Housing and Lands opened this morning on the National Coast Guard Ship Baracuda, in Port Louis harbour.This event is organised in the context of activities marking World Hydrography Day 2017, which is observed on 21st June. The objective is to raise public awareness on the vital role of hydrography in our daily life. The theme for this year is ‘Mapping our seas, oceans and waterways - more important than ever’.Other activities comprise an exhibition of equipment and visit on board the Inshore Survey Vessel (IVS) Pathfinder and the launch of an awareness campaign on the importance of hydrography. . IVS Pathfinder, a donation from the Government of India in 2013, is equipped with modern acoustic U/W sensors, high precision position fixing systems, automated data logging systems and the other conventional and contemporary survey equipment.The Hydrographic Unit was set up in 2013 following the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Mauritius and India in 2005. The MoU provides for development and cooperation in the field of hydrography and assistance in the production of navigational charts, training of staff and developing expertise in the field.
In addition to its responsibility of undertaking hydrographic surveying and nautical charting in Mauritius, the Hydrographic Unit surveys coastal areas critical for shipping and surface navigation. It also carries out underwater search operations for wreck/obstruction detection and surveys extremely shallow lagoons surrounding Mauritius. The Unit provides hydrographic support to Ministries and agencies dealing with ocean related matters.
- GIS - 20 June, 2017: The imperative for developing countries to accelerate the implementation of Article 11 of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) was highlighted by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, yesterday at the opening ceremony of a Sub-Regional Meeting on Graphic Health Warnings at Le Meridien Hotel in Balaclava. Article 11 of the FCTC requires Parties to the Convention to use large, rotating health warnings on all tobacco product packaging and labelling to deter smoking.The use of large rotating pictorial health warnings on all tobacco product packaging and labelling as a cost-effective means of increasing public awareness about the dangers of tobacco use is at the fore of discussions at the three-day Sub-Regional Meeting on Graphic Health Warnings being organised by the WHO Regional Office for Africa in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life. It brings together representatives of Health Ministries and civil societies of 15 African countries to share experience, and discuss the way forward and how support can be provided to countries aiming at sensitising their population with large graphic health warnings.In his address, the Minister deplored the use of enticing products by the tobacco industry to initiate and maintain addiction to its lethal products among consumers, especially the young people. He outlined the vulnerability of young people who are not mature enough to understand the dangers of tobacco use, and who underestimate the risk of becoming addicted to nicotine in the face of the tobacco industry’s marketing strategies.Referring to the alarming rate in the use of tobacco products in the developing world compared to high-income countries, Dr Husnoo pointed out that more than 80% of the world smokers live in low- and middle-income countries. In light of the situation, the Minister recalled that graphic pictures are more powerful deterrent than words, and that the use of pictorial health warning and messages on tobacco products packages has proved to be a very cost effective method to raise public health awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco use.The Minister also briefed participants on the status of Mauritius as regards the implementation of Article 11 of the WHO FCTC. Since passing of relevant legislation in 2009, all cigarettes packages sold in Mauritius should bear one of the eight prescribed pictorial health warnings which must occupy 60% of the front display area and 70% of the black display area. Health warnings in both English and French are also displayed on 65% of the side display area.He reiterated Government’s commitment to fight the tobacco epidemic and gave assurance that Mauritius will soon be implementing new large rotating pictorial health warnings in line with WHO guidelines. According to these guidelines, Parties are recommended to rotate warnings and messages at a 12-24 months interval.For his part, the WHO Representative in Mauritius, Dr Laurent Musango, commended Mauritius for being the first African country to have fully implemented the use of graphical health warning on tobacco product packaging. He urged other participating countries to champion the implementation of WHO FCTC, as the effectiveness of large pictorial health warnings on all tobacco product packaging and labelling in reducing tobacco consumption is widely acknowledged. WHO will continue to support all Parties to raise awareness on morbidity and premature mortality due to tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke, he said.
- GIS – 20 June 2017: A series of workshops aimed at improving the pedagogical skills of Educators in the science field as well as helping them to stay abreast with the latest international trends was launched yesterday afternoon at the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre in Bell Village in the presence of the Vice-President of the Republic of Mauritius.The workshops are organised by the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre (RGSC) and will span over four days. The objective is to provide a hands-on and inquiry-based approach to the teaching of science at preprimary and lower primary levels.The resource person is Lady (Dr) Sue Dale Tunnicliffe, from University College London, UK. Dr Tunnicliffe is a Reader in Science Education at University College London Institute of Education. She has taught in schools to all ages and at the Universities of Cambridge and Winchester. Lady Tunnicliffe, who is a member of the educational advisory panel for the Institute of Engineers and Technologists, is a passionate advocate for encouraging mothers and carers to talk about the science and engineering experiences of their world to their preprimary-going children.In his address at the launching ceremony, the Vice-President, Mr Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, highlighted the role, use and importance of science in everyday life which he said, in fact, is representative of the search for truth. He urged teachers to inspire their students to learn science at an early age as well as to come up with incentives to make science learning attractive.For Mr Vyapoory a good science learner must investigate by himself and discover the cause and effect elements. He lauded the RGSC’s contribution and efforts in raising awareness on science and science education while supplementing the school curricula.In her keynote lecture on Developments in Science Teaching and Learning: the new Mauritius curriculum, Lady Tunnicliffe spoke about the multiple aspects of science learning as well as the need for teachers to have a proficient understanding of the science pedagogy. A teacher has to be both a practitioner and a theorist, she said. According to Dr Tunnicliffe, it is necessary to recognise the ‘science identity’ of children.“Few school students will become research scientists or work in science but all will be citizens with a science identity in our societies”, she said. She also spoke about the significance of play which has an impact on the overall development process of the child. Play is science in action and is the most vital preparatory for not only science but also mathematics and literacy learning, she added.
- GIS - 19 June, 2017: Guaranteeing security and law and order to Mauritian citizens is one of Government’s main priorities in the 2017-2018 budget. To this end a series of measures has been enumerated.Law and OrderA sum of Rs 8.4 billion has been earmarked for the Mauritius Police Force for recruitment of 583 additional Police constables and procurement of equipment, namely acquisition of 18 Light Armoured Personnel Carriers, 12 for the Special Mobile Force and 6 for the Special Support Unit to reinforce capability in emergency and disaster situations; and technological support to combat crimes and juvenile delinquency.Police Patrols will be reinforced all over Mauritius, especially in crime prone areas and the Community Policing programme will be consolidated and intensified. The Police Training Academy will be set up at Côte d’Or City.
Measures to reduce crime and violence
Provision of Rs 2.9 billion for the Integrated Development Project of the National Coast Guard (NCG), the Trident project. It will comprise the construction of a modern headquarters at Fort William with repair facilities for NCG vessels and a slipway.
Scaling up the pilot Safe City project into a fully fledged project at the cost of Rs 440 million with the installation of Intelligence and Traffic Surveillance cameras in major public areas.
Design of the Supreme Court Tower. Construction to start by the end of this year.The objective of Government is to reduce crime and violence through education and prevention, and the adoption of new technologies. The following measures will be implemented:
Brigade des Mineurs will be reinforced and will be active in regions where related cases involving juveniles have been detected
Patrols and operations on both land and sea will be stepped up to combat drug trafficking and comprehensive nation-wide campaign on crime prevention, road safety awareness and community policing will be pursued to sensitise the community.
GIS - 19 June, 2017: Government wants to ensure that local authorities are well on track to provide the best services to the citizen. The 2017- 2018 budget outlines a series measures to be put in place to cater for every segment of the society.The measures consist of among others, the implementation of the amendments brought in the Local Government Act 2011 which was amended last year. Steps will be taken to write off of unpaid claims that have already been issued in respect of years up to 2015/2016.Other major projects falling under the purview of the Municipalities and District Councils are:
Furthermore, the Local Government Service Commission will make timely recruitment and promotion in the Local Government Service.
Renovation of Plaza theatre and the Town Hall of Curepipe;
Construction of market fair at Bel Air, Chemin Grenier, Mahebourg and a market fair as well as a traffic centre at Goodlands;
A multi-purpose complex at Plainte-Verte;
Construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of drains, bridges and rivers across the island;
Construction of a new District Council Head Office for Pamplemousses, Flacq and Savanne;
Landslide Management at Morcellement Hermitage Coromandel, Ruisseau de Creole, Baie du Cap;
Incinerators at Camp Levieux, Quatre Bornes, Highlands, Allee Brillant, Tombeau and Mahebourg;
Sensitisation campaigns on fire and disaster management;
Enforcement of statutory fire safety requirements in high risk premises.
GIS - 19 June, 2017: The Republic of Mauritius is the top ranked country in the African region on the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) for 2017 and positions itself 6th globally. Mauritius scores particularly high in the legal and technical areas.The GCI is a survey produced by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to measure the commitment of Member States to cybersecurity in order to raise awareness.GCI 2017 highlights that the Computer Emergency Response Team of Mauritius (CERT-MU), through the Botnet Tracking and Detection project, is able to take proactive measures to curtail threats on different networks across the country. According to the report capacity building is another area where Mauritius does well. GCI 2017 recalls that the Government IT Security Unit has conducted 180 awareness sessions for some 2 000 civil servants in 32 government Ministries and Departments.GCI’s Top 10The top 10 global rankings are: Singapore (0.925); USA (0.919); Malaysia (0.893); Oman (0.871); Estonia (0.846); Mauritius (0.830); Australia (0.824); Georgia (0.819) and France (0.819) (ex-aequo); Canada (0.818); and Russian Federation (0.788).Three categories were used to classify Member States:
Initiating stage for 96 countries which have started to make commitments in cybersecurity;
Maturing stage for 77 countries which have developed complex commitments, and engage in cybersecurity programmes and initiatives; and
Leading stage for 21 countries that demonstrate high commitment in all five pillars of the index.Mauritius is categorised in the Leading Stage.About the IndexThe Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), launched in 2014, aims at fostering a global culture of cybersecurity and its integration at the core of ICTs. The 2017 GCI, which is the second iteration, measures the commitment of ITU Member States towards cybersecurity in order to drive further efforts in the adoption and integration of cybersecurity on a global scale.
The GCI revolves around the ITU Global Cybersecurity Agenda and its five pillars (legal, technical, organisational, capacity building and cooperation). For each of these pillars, questions were developed to assess commitment. One-hundred and thirty-four Member States responded to the survey throughout 2016.
- GIS - 19 June, 2017: The identification of disaster risk reduction gaps for the Republic of Mauritius and translation of those gaps into a programme of action with set timeframes and responsibilities were at the centre of discussions of a workshop which kicked off this morning at Le Voila Hotel in Bagatelle.The three-day workshop organised at the initiative of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Centre (NDRRMC), in collaboration with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) office, aims at making Mauritius more disaster resilient. It will provide participants, officials from governmental and parastatal bodies, a full insight of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and its adaptability for application to national existing plans.In his opening address, the Officer in Charge of NDRRMC, Mr K. Servansing, recalled that the implementation of the Sendai Framework, through the improvement of sustainable and resilient disaster management, requires a participatory, multi-agency and multi-stakeholder engagement in line with national and international standards. Disasters can have a serious impact on the country’s economy and society, and the efforts made to achieve a sustainable socio-economic development, he said, adding that training additional trainers is thus essential so as to address the issue of risk reduction and disaster management, he added.According to Mr Servansing, the most effective way to envisage risk reduction and management is by improving the engagement of all levels of society and by integrating disaster management in Government development programmes and later involve businesses of the private sector. Commitment to a comprehensive approach to risk management, including mitigation, prevention, preparedness, response and recovery is also important, he pointed out.
Resource persons from UNISDR, Dr. A. Kumar, Deputy Head of the UNISDR Regional Office for Africa, and Ms S. Wade-Apicella, Programme Officer at UNISDR Office for Northeast Asia and Global Education and Training Institute, will bring global best practices and encourage sharing of experiences amongst the participants.
GIS – 16 June 2017: Over a hundred children from both primary and secondary schools gathered yesterday at the Octave Wiéhé Auditorium in Réduit for a Children’s forum on the theme ‘Child, express yourself!’. The event was organised by the National Children Council in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare to mark the Day of the African Child 2017.The forum provided a platform to exchange knowledge and information on the rights and responsibilities of children as spelt out by the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child. The objective was to enable children to become ambassadors of their rights so that they sensitise their friends, schoolmates, family members and neighbours on this issue. Children were given the opportunity to express their views to and ask questions to a panel comprising representatives of the Ministry and the University of Mauritius.Present at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, recalled that Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which encourages adults to listen to the opinions of children, respect their views and involve them in decision-making. She also cautioned the children that the right for them to express their views freely should not lead to verbal abuse. “Listening is two-way and as you want to be listened, you should also listen to your parents who care about your well-being and want you to do well and succeed in life,” the Minister told them.To the parents, Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo stressed their primary responsibility for the upbringing, protection and development of their children. In respect of parental responsibilities on the sharing of values, the Minister appealed to parents to help their children grow up to reach their full potential. She listed out initiatives undertaken by Government to support children's personal development and improve their quality of life. They include the launching of the '16 Days – 16 Rights' campaign whose objectives are to enable children to learn about their rights and to sensitise other people about these rights; the Nine Year Basic Education Reform and the upcoming Children’s Bill.Day of the African ChildThe Day of the African Child 2017, commemorated on 16 June, aims at raising awareness for the situation of children in Africa, and on the need for continuing improvement in education. It was first established by the Organisation of the African Unity in 1991 to honour the memory of the hundreds of young South African schoolchildren who were shot down on the streets of Soweto by security forces during a march in protest against the poor quality of education in 1976.
The theme this year is ‘The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunity’ to call attention to the linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Children’s Charter, with the goal of inspiring States Parties to accelerate efforts towards realising all children’s rights as provided by the Charter, as a contribution towards accelerating the promotion and protection of all children’s rights in Africa.