228. The Committee considered the initial report of
Mauritius on articles 1 to 15 of the Covenant (E/1990/5/Add.21)
at its 40th, 41st and 43rd meetings on 27 and 28 November
1995 and, at its 55th meeting on 6 December 1995, adopted
the following concluding observations.
229. 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, prior 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
proceeded at its tenth session to consider the state
of implementation by Mauritius of the economic, social
and cultural rights contained in the Covenant.
230. The Committee thanks the State party for the written
response to the list of issues and for the additional
information provided by the delegation during its open
and constructive dialogue with the Committee.
Factors and difficulties impeding the
implementation of the Covenant
231. 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 a considerable
impediment, the Mauritian Government is still under
the obligation to ensure the enjoyment by the population
of Rodrigues of its economic, social and cultural rights.
232. The Committee commends the positive reaction by
the State party to the concluding observations referred
to in paragraph 229 above, which have been taken into
account in introducing 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
in relation to foreign spouses of Mauritians.
233. The Committee notes with satisfaction the repeal
of the 1984 Newspaper and Periodicals Act, which had
hindered the freedom of expression regarding the Government's
policies, including in the sphere of economic, social
and cultural rights.
234. The Committee appreciates the measures being taken
by the State party to improve legislation in the field
of mental health and physical disability.
235. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the
continuing economic growth in Mauritius has been accompanied
by considerable achievements in human development, a
fact already 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 and nutrition and a cleaner environment, to improve
the quality of life, and to promote equality.
236. 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 ensuring the effective
implementation of the provisions of the Covenant.
Principal subjects of concern
237. 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 in the area of equal pay for men
and women. In the agricultural sector for example,
Committee is not satisfied with the explanation of "differentiation
but not discrimination" proffered by the delegation
238. The Committee expresses its concern regarding the
uncertain situation of foreign workers, and at the inability
of the Government to ensure their rights as set forth
in the Covenant, in particular in articles 6, 7 and
239. 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
240. The Committee expresses grave concern at the reported
rise in child abuse, child prostitution, domestic violence
against women, teenage pregnancy, abortion, suicide,
and 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
241. The Committee expresses its regret that the State
party has 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 school curricula.
Suggestions and recommendations
242. 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.
243. The Committee recommends a review of the situation
of foreign workers to ensure the same protection enjoyed
by Mauritian nationals, in particular with regard to
articles 6, 7 and 9 of the Covenant.
244. The Committee recommends that the revised industrial
relations legislation to be proposed in the near future
should take into account the report of the Special Law
Review Committee and effectively enable the exercise
of trade union rights, particularly the right to strike
in conformity with the obligations which Mauritius has
undertaken in this regard.
245. 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, and alcohol and drug abuse, and of
how the State party can best protect and ensure the
economic, social and cultural rights of the population
of Mauritius affected by those problems. In this regard,
the State party should, inter alia, initiate
efforts to gather statistics and other information relevant
to the situation.
246. The Committee recommends that the Government of
Mauritius 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 in particular.
247. The Committee recommends that steps be taken to
incorporate human rights education in all school curricula,
in accordance with the goals and objectives of the United
Nations Decade for Human Rights Education.