and recommendations of the Committee on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights, Mauritius, U.N. Doc. E/C.12/1995/14 (1995).
28 December 1995
ORIGINAL : ENGLISH
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER
ARTICLES 16 AND 17 OF THE COVENANT
Concluding observations of the Committee on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights
The Committee considered the initial report of Mauritius (E/1990/5/Add.21)
at its 40th, 41st and 43rd meetings on 27 and 28 November 1995 and adopted
At its 55th meeting on 6 December 1995.
the following concluding oservations.
The Committee welcomes the comprehensive initial report of the State
party prepared in accordance with its Revised general guidelines, which
was submitted shortly after substantive concluding observations were adopted
by the Committee in May 1994. The Committee recalls that previous to this,
Mauritius had not fulfilled its reporting obligations under articles 16
and 17 of the Covenant since it became a State party on 3 January 1976.
In the continued absence of the report, the Committee at its tenth session
proceeded to consider the state of implementation by Mauritius of the economic,
social and cultural rights contained in the Covenant.
The Committee thanks the State party for the written reply to the list
of issues and for the additional information provided by the delegation
during its open and constructive dialogue with the Committee.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Covenant
The Committee considers that, notwithstanding the geographical isolation
of the island of Rodrigues and the consequent logistical problems in the
delivery of basic government services, a fact which is of considerable
impediment, the Mauritian Government is still under the obligation to ensure
the enjoyment by the population of Rodrigues of its economic, social and
C. Positive aspects
The Committee commends the positive reaction by the State party to the
concluding observations referred to in paragraph 2, which have been taken
into account when introducing the changes in Mauritian law. In particular
it welcomes the amendments in August 1995 of Section 16 of the Constitution
of Mauritius which now prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender
in addition to "colour
or creed" and
of the Citizenship Act of
1968, removing gender discrimination in relation to foreign spouses of
The Committee notes with satisfaction the repeal of the 1984 Newspaper
and Periodicals Act which had hindered the freedom of expression with respect
to the Government's policies, including in the sphere of economic, social
and cultural rights.
The Committee appreciates the measures being taken by the State party
to improve legislation in the field of mental health and physical disability.
The Committee notes with satisfaction that the continuing economic growth
in Mauritius has been accompanied by considerable achievements in human
development which was likewise noted in the concluding observations of
May 1994. The statistical profile on socio-economic indicators reflects
a positive assertion of the avowed commitment by the Government to ensure
better education, health, nutrition and a cleaner environment, to improve
the quality of life, and to promote equality.
The Committee notes with appreciation the readiness of the State party,
as expressed by the delegation, to continue constructive dialogue and cooperation
with the Committee, with a view to ensure the effective implementation
of the provisions of the Covenant.
D. Principal subjects of concern
The Committee reiterates its concern that, despite encouraging developments
in legislation, women in Mauritius continue to occupy a subordinate role
in society affecting their full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural
rights, particularly where it applies to equal pay for men and women. In
the agricultural sector for example, the Committee is not satisfied with
the explanation of "differentiation
but not discrimination" proferred
by the delegation of Mauritius.
The Committee expresses its concern over the uncertain situation of
foreign workers, and over the inability of the Government to ensure their
rights set forth in the Covenant, in particular in articles 6, 7 and 9.
With regard to article 8 of the Covenant, the Committee reiterates its
concern as to the adverse effects of the Industrial Relations Act of 1973,
which is still in force, on trade union rights and the right to strike.
The Committee notes with concern that the Trade Union and Labour Relations
Bill proposed in 1994, far from following the recommendations of the Special
Law Review Committee, appears to be even less favourable to the exercise
of these rights and was thus rejected by the entire trade union movement
of Mauritius. The same observation applies to the proposed National Pay
and Productivity Council Bill.
The Committee expresses grave concern over the reported rise in child
abuse, child prostitution, domestic violence against women, teenage pregnancy,
abortion, suicide as well as alcohol and drug abuse. The Committee regrets
the apparent absence of Government information and statistics on these
matters, in spite of assurances from the delegation that further information
will be sent in writing very soon in the future.
The Committee expresses its regret that the State party failed to disseminate
public information concerning human rights in general and the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in particular. In addition,
it notes with concern the absence of human rights education in all schools
E. Suggestions and recommendatio
The Committee encourages the Government to pursue its current efforts
to eliminate discriminatory practices against women and to ensure in the
practical application of the new laws the full enjoyment of their economic,
social and cultural rights.
The Committee recommends a review of the situation of foreign workers
to ensure the same protection enjoyed by Mauritian nationals, in particular
where it concerns articles 6, 7 and 9.
The Committee recommends that the revised industrial relations legislation
to be proposed in the near future will take into account the report of
the Special Law Review Committee and effectively enable the exercise of
trade union rights, and particularly the right to strike in conformity
with the obligations which Mauritius has undertaken in this regard.
The Committee recommends an in depth study and analysis of the situation
of child abuse, child prostitution, domestic violence against women, teenage
pregnancy, abortion, suicide as well as alcohol and drug abuse, and how
State party can best protect and ensure the economic, social and cultural
rights of the population of Mauritius affected by those problems. In relation
to this, the State party should, inter alia, initiate efforts to gather
statistics and other information relevant to the situation.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Mauritius should adopt
without delay an intensive and systematic public information campaign on
human rights in general and on the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights.
The Committee recommends that steps be taken to incorporate human rights
education in all schools curricula, in accordance with the goals and objectives
of the Decade for Human Rights Education.