GIS - 09 December 2015: Ms Rita Venkatasamy was sworn in as the new Ombudsperson for Children (OC) yesterday during a ceremony held at the State House, in Le Réduit.
Ms Venkatasamy was the former director of the Cedem (Centre d’éducation et de développement pour les enfants mauriciens), and has been actively engaged in promoting the protection of children’s rights in Mauritius.
It is recalled that the OC is appointed by the President of the Republic, acting after consultation with the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Minister and such other persons as considered as appropriate.
The OC has the statutory duty to:
- ensure that the rights, needs and interests of children are given full consideration by public bodies, private authorities, individuals and associations of individuals;
- promote the rights and best interests of children; and
- promote compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Moreover, the Ombudsperson for Children has a quasi-jurisdictional power. She receives complaints, summons witnesses, calls for documents and can compel witnesses to answer questions. She does not adopt an adversarial approach. A statement made in good faith by a witness in the course of the investigation cannot be used against him/her in civil or criminal proceedings. Whenever she considers that the right of a child has been or is likely to be violated, she can open an enquiry on her own motion.
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