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National Human Rights Commission

FAQs


Living in Mauritius

What is the NHRC?

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is an independent body set up under the Protection of Human Rights Act 1998 to ensure better protection of human rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Mauritius and to conduct investigation into complaints against members of the police force.  It also makes provision for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. 

It consists of a Chairman and 3 members appointed by the President of the Republic as follows:

 

Mr. D. B. Seetulsingh                    Chairman
Mr. Seetulsingh is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court who has occupied the post of Solicitor General in the Ministry of Justice.  

 


What are the human rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Mauritius?

The Human Rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Mauritius and dealt with by the NHRC are:
(i)                the right to life;
(ii)              the right to personal liberty;
(iii)             the right to protection from slavery and forced labour;
(iv)              the right to protection from inhuman treatment;
(v)               the right to protection from deprivation of property;
(vi)              the right to privacy of home and other property;
(vii)            the right to secure protection of the law;
(viii)           the right to freedom of conscience;
(ix)             the right to freedom of expression;
(x)              the right to freedom of assembly and association;
(xi)             the right to freedom to establish schools;
(xii)            the right to freedom of movement;
(xiii)          the right to protection from discrimination.

 


What does the NHRC do?

It enquires into written complaints made
(i)          by any person who feels that any of the human rights mentioned above has been violated or is likely to be violated by the act or omission of a public officer or employee of a public body;
(ii)          by any person against an act or omission of a member of the police force.
            The NHRC visits police stations, prisons and other places of detention under the control of the state to study the living conditions of the inmates and the treatment afforded to them.    
It may review the factors or difficulties that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and promotes the respect of Human Rights through education.

 


Can the NHRC enquire into complaints relating to ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS?

No.     

The NHRC does not deal with complaints relating to economic, social and cultural rights, such as the right to work, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to education, the right to health services, the right to social security, etc.  These rights are catered for by local legislation (e.g the Education Act, Social Aid Act, National Pensions Act) and other measures provided for under our welfare state system.


Can a case which DATES FROM SEVERAL YEARS AGO be referred to the NHRC?

No.     

The NHRC is not empowered under Section 4 (2) (a) of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1998 to enquire into complaints relating to events dating back to more than 2 years.


Can a complaint against the police be referred to BOTH THE OMBUDSMAN AND THE NHRC?

No.     

The NHRC is not empowered under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1998 to enquire into complaints against the police when the complaints are already being investigated by the Ombudsman.


​Can the NHRC investigate a complaint against the PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MAURITIUS...

Can the NHRC investigate a complaint against the PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MAURITIUS, THE CHIEF JUSTICE, THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS, THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, THE DISCIPLINED FORCES SERVICE COMMISSION,  THE COMMISSION ON THE PREROGATIVE OF MERCY,THE ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES COMMISSION, THE JUDICIAL AND LEGAL SERVICE COMMISSION, THE ELECTORAL SUPERVISORY COMMISSION?

No.      The NHRC is not empowered under Section 4 (2) (b) of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1998 to enquire into complaints against the persons or institutions mentioned above.


Can the NHRC enquire into a complaint against LEGAL ADVISERS etc?

The NHRC is not empowered to enquire into private disputes between individuals or any complaint against private employers or professionals, e.g lawyers, doctors, etc.  The NHRC does not give complainants legal advice about private matters.


Can the NHRC impose a sentence against a public officer found guilty of a Human Rights violation?

No.     

The NHRC is not empowered to fine, imprison or in any other way punish any person against whom a complaint is made.


How does the NHRC operate?

On receipt of a complaint, the NHRC
(i)          examines all information submitted;
(ii)         summons the complainant, the respondents and their witnesses and examines them on oath or under solemn affirmation;
(iii)         calls for the production of documents or exhibits; and
(iv)         visits the locus if need be.
As required by the Act, the Commission attempts in the first instance to resolve the complaint by a conciliatory procedure.   Should the attempt fail, the NHRC at the end of the enquiry ?
(i)        refers the case to
(a)  the Director of Public Prosecutions if it appears that an offence has been committed; or
(b)  the appropriate Service Commission where it appears that disciplinary action should be taken; or
(c)  the Officer in Charge of a parastatal body or Government owned company where it appears that disciplinary action should be taken against an employee;
(ii)          sends its conclusions and any recommendations in writing to the Minister responsible for Human Rights for appropriate action;
(iii)        recommends, where appropriate, the grant of relief to the complainant or any other person;  and
(iv)        informs the complainant of the action taken.


How can one lodge a complaint?

A complainant should submit a written complaint.  He/she may call in person during working hours to fill a Complaints Form at the following address:
 
           National Human Rights Commission,
2nd Floor,
Renganaden Seeneevassen Building,
Jules Koenig Street,
Port Louis

Complaints may also be made online.(Click here to register your complaints)

A person may also request a Complaints Form by post or by phoning 208-2856 and return the form duly filled in and signed to the above address by post or by calling in person.

A person can also send a letter to the NHRC specifying
(a)      his/her personal particulars (name, address, telephone no., National Identity no.)  and
(b)      particulars of the complaint (any human right which has been/is likely to be violated, nature of complaint against the police, name of person or body complained against, nature of complaint, date, time and place of occurrence, etc


Can a complainant be assisted by his counsel?

Yes, if he so wishes.


What is the difference between the Court and the NHRC procedure?

(1)       The NHRC has an inquisitorial approach, not an adversarial approach as in a court of law. 
(2)       The Complainant or Respondent may appear in person and need not be represented by his legal adviser.
(3)       There are no costs involved when the NHRC deals with a complaint.