Saturday, 29 June 2013

UN report: Seychelles is one of the highest rate of injection drug use in the world.

Azerbaijan has recorded the highest rate of injecting drug users in the world. This is stated in the UN World Drug Report 2013, which was published on June 26 in Vienna.

 Thus, according to the document 5.2 per cent of the Azerbaijani population uses drug though injecting. In Seychelles and Russian Federation they make the 2.3 per cent of population, in Estonia 1.5 per cent, Georgia - 1.3 per cent, Canada - 1.3 per cent, the Republic of Moldova - 1.2 per cent, Puerto Rico - 1.15 per cent, Latvia - 1.15 per cent and Belarus 1.11 per cent of population.

Azerbaijan is also on the list of high rate use of opioids, especially heroin and opium in Central Asia and Transcaucasia. Thus, the annual use of these drugs among the adult population in Azerbaijan is 1.5%, in Georgia 1.36%, and 1% in Kazakhstan.

As noted in the UN report, the fight against the use of opioids, especially heroin and opium in Central Asia and Transcaucasia remains of primary concern.

In the U.S. State Department report on the control of drug trafficking was noted that Azerbaijan is a transit country for drugs from Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia to Russia and Europe. The report also says that Azerbaijan has increased the number of addicts. Heroin is the most popular drug in Azerbaijan; other narcotic plants grow there too.

In September 2010, the Deputy Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan Rustam Usubov stated that about 35% of the illegally produced drugs in Afghanistan is carried through territory of Azerbaijan.

According to the UN report, "North Balkan route" drug trafficking from Afghanistan to Europe lies through Azerbaijan. Drugs on Azerbaijan-Turkey-Iran route are transferred freely. The second "Old Balkan Route" lies straight from Iran to Turkey. People engaged in smuggling here, mainly apply to the help of Azeri and Kurdish population of northern Iran. The third route through Azerbaijan and the Caucasus lies through Turkmen seaport after Turkmenbashi in Baku, where some of the drugs easily smuggles into Russia.

U.N. report urges countries hosting N. Korea missions to be vigilant

A U.N. report released Monday has urged nations hosting North Korean embassies, missions or trade offices to be on guard against diplomats and officials covertly facilitating illicit trade in nuclear arms or other prohibited items.
"Countries hosting embassies, permanent missions or trade representative offices of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea should be particularly vigilant regarding its diplomats and officials," the roughly 130 page report said, referring to North Korea's official name.

The report mentioned incidents involving Pyongyang's officials acting in countries such as Ukraine, Austria and the Republic of Congo ranging from attempts to obtain classified information, to conducting illicit activities out of a diplomatic office and violating arms embargoes.

Information provided by authorities in Ukraine and Belarus indicates two North Korean representatives accredited through their country's trade office in Belarus traveled in 2011 to Ukraine, where they approached an employee at Yuzhnoye Design Office, a former developer of medium-range ballistic missiles, seeking to gain access to photos of secret academic theses.

The pair was ultimately unable to obtain the information they sought. It could have provided them with advanced technologies that could have been used for developing missile systems.
The two were arrested and sentenced in 2012 to eight years in prison.

The report also cited activities carried out by Yun Ho Jin, who represented the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna from 1993-1998, for "running an illicit procurement network and conducting other illicit and criminal activities out of his country's embassy in Vienna." In 2009 he was designated as an individual subject to a travel ban and assets freeze.
"It is highly likely that similar activities are conducted out of the country's other embassies, diplomatic missions and commercial and trade missions abroad," the report said.

North Korean agents given passports by Kiribati and the Seychelles

In the Congo a diplomat and a Korean People's Army senior colonel were reported to have been involved in the illicit refurbishment of armored vehicles and other military equipment and had used diplomatic bank accounts to transfer those funds.
Compiled annually by the so-called panel of experts -- comprised of members from Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, as well as one member each from Japan and South Korea -- the report was made public without objection from Beijing, which as the North's closest ally has objected in the past.

All of the actions are in violation of previous resolutions stemming from Pyongyang conducting its first underground nuclear test in 2006, which was followed by two more tests in 2009 and most recently in February.

"The use of foreign passports by nationals of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea who engage in illicit or suspicious activities also merits attention," the report said.
The report confirmed that two North Koreans were under investigation for allegedly purchasing passports from Kiribati and then changing them to ones issued by Seychelles.
Also contained in the document is the panel's recommendation to designate four entities and eleven persons for blacklisting.

They include the new Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry, the Munitions Industry Department of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers' Party, the State Space Development Bureau and the Hesong Trading Corp.
The individuals include high ranking officials affiliated with the various entities, as well as two individuals from Ukraine and one from Kazakhstan.

"In both its export and import of goods under sanctions, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea continues to use a variety of techniques to circumvent national controls, indicating that the imposition of sanctions has hampered its arms sales and illicit weapon programs," the report said.
The panel was initially appointed by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in 2009 and is mandated by the Security Council to continue its work through April of next year.

While there were initially seven members selected by Ban, an eighth from South Africa is slated to join the panel in the near future.
The panel made 52 visits to 28 countries in order to follow through on information during their reporting period.


Friday, 28 June 2013

" Human Trafficking In Seychelles Confirmed"

US State Department lists Seychelles on Human Trafficking List

The Seychelles Committee on Trafficking in Persons have today issued a statement in response to the US State Department's 2013 Report on Trafficking in Persons in which Seychelles is featured and which was rejected by the Government last week, as being poor in its analysis and based on anecdotal evidence.
The Committee, which consisted of representatives from Social Development, Employment, Immigration, Police, Office of the Attorney General, Seychelles Civil Aviation - as well as NGO’s, such as WASO and the NCC and other relevant sectors, described the report as a distortion of the reality on the ground:

“The Committee on Trafficking in Persons (TIP Committee) denounces the narrative of Seychelles in the 2013 report and refers to it as a distortion of the actual situation and reality in the country. A plethora of inaccuracies and misrepresentations have been identified throughout the narrative, which have belittled the efforts being made on the ground to address the problems of trafficking in its local context.”
In their statement, the Committee urged the US State Department to review and address the shortcomings in their reports that would provide for a more accurate account and better help the fight against human trafficking across the globe.

“Whilst aware that the US State Department’s report is aimed at increasing the global efforts to combat trafficking in persons, we do not believe that reporting on uncorroborated and unsubstantiated claims is an appropriate avenue by which this can be achieved. We question the methodology and veracity of the report, and are concerned about the logic and transparency behind the rating system…. We strongly recommend that the US State Department seeks to improve its methodology and develop greater consistency and accuracy in the information reported in order to produce reports that can be used as a basis to assess progress. “

The Committee has said that they have been working with partners to enact their plans, which includes their work with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on drafting new legislation on human trafficking and developing a National Action Plan on trafficking.
It may be recalled that the Seychelles Government also denounced the 2012 report as being grossly distorted. In an attempt to address issues on the ground and concerns with the US State Department reporting style, the newly convened Committee met with Mr David Campbell, the Political Officer from the US Embassy in Port Louis, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in October 2012. The discussions centred on addressing these concerns and discussing the Action Plans intended to address local issues relating to human trafficking.

For the past two consecutive years, Seychelles has been placed on ‘Tier 2 Watch List’ in the US State Department’s Trafficking in Person’s Annual Report. The Committee on Trafficking in Persons (TIP Committee) denounces the narrative of Seychelles in the 2013 report and refers to it as a distortion of the actual situation and reality in the country. A plethora of inaccuracies and misrepresentations have been identified throughout the narrative, which have belittled the efforts being made on the ground to address the problems of trafficking in its local context. The TIP Committee is thereforeduty-bound to address and refute the unsubstantiated generalizations throughout the narrative.
The report states that child prostitution is commonplace in Seychelles. This is an uncorroborated claim based on anecdotal evidence, which is startling to the Seychellois people given the extensive framework in place for the protection and safeguarding of the rights of children and its level of enforcement. In the period covered by the narrative, there have been no reported cases of child prostitution by victims, concerned citizens or related agencies in Seychelles. Nonetheless, the Social Affairs Department has taken a proactive approach and has been working closely with its partners on issues that have involved minors in sexual activities.

Another perturbing allegation made by the narrative refers to the status of prostitution in Seychelles. The government has acknowledged the occurrence of prostitution, and there have been numerous initiatives both by governmental departments and civil society organisations to provide social support to the vulnerable individuals, and to sensitize the greater public on the dangers that the activity poses. It has been recognised that drugs have played a corollary role on the rise of such activities in the country, and the agencies concerned have taken concrete steps to provide necessary services to drug addicts to protect them from potential sexual exploitation.
Also, featured in the narrative is the case of five Ukrainian women who were allegedly victims of trafficking in Seychelles. Despite full cooperation of the concerned Seychellois agencies to the Ukrainian authorities, and the willingness of the Government to investigate the claim, the lack of official information on the identity of the concerned individuals has resulted in the local investigation being halted.

Furthermore, the TIP Committee is disappointed to note that whilst the narrative discusses the sporadic cases where migrant workers have faced difficult conditions, it ignores the substantial efforts made by the stakeholders in the past year to address such cases when reported and to prevent future occurrences of the same. This includes the reinforcement of the Compliance Division of the Labour Department, which conducts inspections and monitors working conditions of migrant workers. More scrutiny has also been applied in the recruitment process of migrant workers (i.e. issuance of Gainful Occupation Permits and attestation of contracts). The Labour Department has also been empowered to fast track claims related to exploitation of migrant workers and this has reduced the necessity of higher court involvement through active mediation. It is also worth noting that the necessary legal actions were taken against the companies who were involved in the exploitation migrant workers.
Whilst aware that the US State Department’s report is aimed at increasing the global efforts to combat trafficking in persons, we do not believe that reporting on uncorroborated, unsubstantiated and inaccurate claims is an appropriate avenue by which this can be achieved. We question the methodology and veracity of the report, and are concerned about the logic and transparency behind the rating system. Despite the efforts being made by the authorities to provide all requested factual information to render the report accurate and reflective of the reality of our islands, the TIP Committee questions the motives behind the selection of information featured in the report. We strongly recommend that the US State Department seeks to improve its methodology and develop greater consistency and accuracy in the information reported in order to produce reports that can be used as a basis to assess progress.

In recognition of the shortcomings that must be urgently addressed to improve the gaps in counter measures related to human trafficking, we have embarked on a series of activities and programmes nationally. The TIP Committee, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is drafting legislation on human trafficking, as well as developing a National Action Plan to coordinate local efforts. Through a project under the International Organisation of Migration, workshops for capacity building and awareness raising activities are also being planned for the second half of 2013.

The TIP Committee would like to thank you for taking the time to convey our views on this matter to the relevant authority. We remain committed to the fight against trafficking in persons, and protecting the vulnerable victims of this heinous crime. We reiterate that as long as the discussion on eradicating human trafficking is based on random anecdotes and unsubstantiated claims, the efforts and progress made on this issue will remain meaningless.


"More Merry Go Round In Michel Administration"

Seychelles Tourism Board CEO resigns.

(eTN) - A press release yesterday late afternoon from the Office of Seychelles President James Alix Michel, confirmed that the Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), Mrs. Elsia Grandcourt, will retire from STB on June 30 of this year. Elsia, who served as CEO since March 1 of last year, previously served as Deputy CEO under Alain St.Ange, before taking over as Chief Executive when Mr. St.Ange was appointed as Minister of Tourism and Culture.
The relevant part of the statement from the Office of the President in Mahe reads as follows:

“Following the resignation of Mrs. Elsia Grandcourt from the post of CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, the President has appointed Ms. Sherin Naiken, formerly Principal Secretary for Tourism, as the new CEO of STB. Mrs. Grandcourt has been nominated for a high-level post in an international organization.”
The announcement was part of a more comprehensive statement of new appointments and changes, which included the creation of a Department of Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation, which President Michel had mentioned in his recent State of the Nation address.
For now it is a fond farewell to Elsia Grandcourt, with whom this correspondent worked closely over the past years in her respective capacities and a warm welcome to Sherin Naiken, who will take charge on July 1.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

"Outrageous, that a Seychellois be refused entry to Coral Strand Again"

Discrimination becoming a real issue in Seychelles

Dear Madam,
One of our greatest pride as a nation is our racial harmony and the dignity of being
Seychellois with no regard to colour,creed, gender, etc. This harmony that defines our nationality must neither be taken for granted nor allowed to be challenged in any way.

For some time I had been reading about, and hearing of.incidences where Seychellois were not allowed entrance to public areas in certain hotels. I had dismissed these incidences as exaggerations or misunderstandings. Last night, however, this happened near home and it has left me with a feeling of great sadness and anger. Before I go further, I would like to say that I agree that it is the perogative of establishments to ensure that visitors are bona fide and behave in a manner that is circumspect without causing any embarrassment to the other clients.

In the evening of 19th June, my son took a visiting relative to the Coral Strand Hotel at Beau Vallon. Both of them were well dressed, sober (my son rarely takes alcohol) and in a good frame of mind. He said when he got to the hotel there were four Europeans in front of them and the oriental-looking security man greeted those Europeans affably. When my son and his friend made way to enter the hotel the security guard told him that he could not go in but would give no reason for this. As my son was trying to reason with him indicating that this was his late father’s watering hole and that as a child he had spent many leisure moments at the old Coral Strand, a Seychellois ‘spectator’ shouted: “zot pa pou les ou entre akoz kouler ou lapo”! In fact the only thing that distinguished my son from the four Europeans was indeed the colour of his skin!

My son returned home almost apoplectic saying that he had never been so humiliated and insulted in his life. I decided to call the hotel and asked to speak to the General Manager. After interminable calls and being questioned by a number of foreign-sounding staff, and after having to present an accolade of my past titles, I was allowed to speak to the Deputy General Manager who expressed regret that this had happened and he assured me that discriminating against Seychellois was not a policy of the hotel. I told him of the various writings and reports I had seen and heard about and given the situation I would stilllike to know the reason why entry was denied. He said that the security guard had been able to identify the four Europeans as clients but did not know my son. I told him that my son was certainly a homo sapiens and that the only difference from that point of view was his skinpigmentation! Besides, I do not believe that a security guard would arbitrarily take such a drastic decision that was not covered by one dictum or another.I find this very difficult to accept and a very worrying trend indeed.

I have taken the decision to write this letter because I am part of the generation who suffered under the scourge of colonialism where we were second class citizens in our own land. In 1971, I was turned away from the former Seychelles Club as a luncheon guest of the first British Airways Manager because “her colour is not welcomed here”! I took my humiliation to Albert Rene who told me that “one day things will change” and change it did. The Seychellois reclaimed their land and harmony reigned to the admiration of all our visitors and tourists. I therefore find it hard to accept that in the year 2013, and justone day after our President in is National Day address, implored both foreigners and Seychellois to continue to live with mutual respect, that history would repeat itself. Before I wrote this letter, I have spoken to a number of people, including community leaders and those in the present-day echelons of Government and they all agree that such discriminations are in fact happening and yet everyone seems helpless to do anything about it. Well, we should get our heads out of the proverbial sand and stamp out this ugly malaise. If we do not,we would be doing a disservice to our children and would be casting futility on the wonderful job my, and my parents’ generations have done to enhance the beauty of our lives in our paradise on earth.

I write this with no fear or malice but for the love of my country, my fellow Seychellois
and our children.
Thank you.
Noellie Alexandre



                                                                             June 26, 2013.

 AL AIN: President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Tuesday left the country on a private visit.

He was seen off by General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region,  Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Ruler`s Representative in the Eastern Region. Also present were Sheikh Saif Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammad Al Nahyan, Sheikh Saeed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Ruler`s Representative, Sheikh Nahyan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation.

Lt. General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Sheikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, Sheikh Omar Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Executive Council Member, Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and a number of sheikhs and senior officials in the country.


Friday, 21 June 2013

After PRC Army Marches In Parade They Head To Orphanage In Seychelles

SEYCHELLES, June 20 (ChinaMil) -- Wu Haihua, political commissar of the 14th Chinese escort taskforce under the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLAN), and his party went to the Elizabeth Orphanage in Seychelles to visit the teachers and children at the orphanage on June 18, 2013, local time.

The officers and men of the 14th Chinese escort taskforce walked into the Elizabeth Orphanage at 09:00 on the day. Wu Haihua, on behalf of the officers and men of the 14th Chinese escort taskforce, presented cultural and sports goods including Chinese paintings, Chinese knots, cultural shirts, basketballs and footballs, and extended their cordial greetings and good wishes to the workers and staff as well as children of the orphanage.

After that, the officers and men of the taskforce conducted interactive exchanges with the children of the orphanage. Female soldiers of the "Harbin" guided-missile destroyer of the taskforce including Gao Jie, Kong Xiangyun and others successively played Chinese traditional musical instrument and staged such performances as folk dance and magic show. The children of the orphanage also sang songs and performed dances they had carefully prepared for the officers and men of the taskforce who came to see them.

A ten-year-old girl named Shirley, could read out the names of several servicemen of the taskforce in Chinese by reading the name badge on the uniforms of the servicemen. Shirley told the reporter that she was willing to learn Chinese very much from the elder “brothers” and “sisters” coming from China and hoped that she could go to China to study when grown up.

Children are the world's future. The concern about children is the concern about our future. "There are no borders to express loves. This visit to the orphanage by the officers and men of the taskforce represents the concern and love for children from the Chinese military and people. In addition, it also enhances the understanding and exchange between the two countries," said Wu Haihua.

People's daily.

Seychelles National Day Used As Platform For Lies

Dr. James A Michel.

Like many Seychellois, we all listen in on the President’s National Day Speech. Each year, this mid year declaration, gives us an insight into what the man at State House is pondering, and what he is not pondering; what is genuine, and what is not. Just as he relishes the moment to bullshit a nation, I relish the moment to dot the I’s and cross the t’s, because it is always a jackpot of lies. Here it goes, but let’s start with a truth first.

In 1992 Our Reserves Was $35Million
This is true. But behind this truth Mr. President, is the lie. Who was the Minister of Finance: James Michel. That is you, or is it someone else? How many years did you make the people of Seychelles suffer under ridiculous policies that made us poor as individuals, and poor as a country, when given a small population, vast potential in fisheries and tourism, after 35 years, we are still hearing from you the same message we heard 35 years ago: “we need foreign autocrat investment o develop Seychelles”.

Today Our Reserves Are $340 Million Congratulations!
What Mr. President does not tell the people of Seychelles, is that the Seychelles has never started repayment of debts which caused her to go BANKRUPT officially under his watch. Debt repayment was suppose to start in 2013 and his government asked creditors for a grace to start repayment in 2015. Hence, they money to repay debt has accumulated in reserves today, but that will be wiped out with accrued interest payments for nonpayment, and balloon payments in 2015. This means the reserves though there, our debts are increasing ever more so.
To achieve this reserve, the GOS clipped the real value of the US Dollar and Euro since last year and dragged these currencies to below 25% of their market price.  In effect,  they gave the government an opportunity to buy real money at a 25% discount to build the reserve they claim they have. Basically they stole 85 Million Dollars from the private sector, money Tourism and Fisheries could have used to put into circulation, upgrade facilities, equipment, and make industries more competitive.

Now, on the back drop of the lights glitter, and fancy parade, Mr. President comes out and says he will make interest on loans more affordable to fool the business community and the Public that he is pro Seychellois business. Programs that create substitution for unemployment is not a business opportunity Mr. President, it is called expensive babysitting. Entrepreneurs are not legislated, they are unique individuals, with unique stamina, energy, ideas and know how. This is where government needs to put money: “education to spark creativity and business acumen, not education to create file clerks and paper pushers”.

Mr. President Says Foreign Investors Are Needed
On this issue, Mr. President, loses his cohesion as a leader completely. He attacks his people, insults them, belittles them lectures them as if we are all Five (5) year old children and he is a great wise, leader that never drove Seychelles into bankruptcy. No person who has ever driven a country into bankruptcy has ever spoken to his people like that except for President Robert Mugabe.
Mr. President, we are not anti -foreigner, we are pro -Seychellois.
Around Seychelles we can see all the projects you approve for foreigners, but see little approved for Seychellois. When foreigners get their projects approved, they your government is soft on them, lenient, and they enter the market for peanuts. When Seychellois get a project, they suffer, year in and year out for approval, your government squeezes them, every step of the way until their will, their stamina , is sapped. You have it all wrong.

President James Michel Offshore Account in British Virgin Island

In any country, a balance must be struck. But your very admission that there are no programs for Seychellois, shows that you have a problem with your economic development scheme. The problem is that it is focused primarily on seeking out autocrat investors from UAE to do all your investing because they are your close friends first, and investors second. When they get offended they will pull out you say. Well Mr. President, this is the exact reason why responsible leaders do not bank their national economy on autocrats.

You say these Autocrats have dollars and invest around the world. Yes, but each country they invest in do not rely on them to make their national economy run. Seychelles is special, it is also small, it is beautiful, and you should know she is the apple of the Autocrats eye. As President, you are tasked with finding responsible secure investments for Seychelles, not fly by nights, which you yourself admit, are very sensitive.

Surprise :Raise Salaries So People Clap Hands
At the end of the speech a desperate call for increase of salaries came from the man who since 2004 had increased salaries by 3% only under the name of “Social Justice” in this time, inflation compounded 58% over the heads of Seychellois, who he said are well off today.
Bring salaries to 2004 level offset against INFLATION Mr. President: INCREASE SALARIES BY 58% to pay for your failures. Then we will see if IMF collects you themselves.

Seselwa Unite!
Sesel Pou Seselwa!
May God Bless All Freedom Loving Seychellois!

Written by Christopher Gill, Leader of Seychelles Freedom Party.