Last edited: September 2005
Summary and Analysis
Mauritius acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in July of 1990 and ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in February of 1992. It is unclear what force in the law, if any, these treaties carry.
As one of the first steps towards a recognition of the problem of child abuse, regional child abuse units have been opened in 5 localities throughout the nation to "diagnose and treat children who have been victims of abuse," as well as provide counseling, legal advice, and shelter to battered children. Recent amendments in the Child Protection Act have made it an "obligation" for doctors and teachers to report suspected cases of child abuse. However, there is no system in place to deal with abused children, and "there continues to be a lack of trained personnel in the area of counseling, rehabilitation, and child psychology." There is also no monitoring mechanism to provide a "systematic and comprehensive compilation of data" regarding the status of children in Mauritius.
Courts do not make use of psychologists or other specialists trained in the treatment of children. Children in court are "simply badgered like adults and with the least discrepancy are labeled as 'unreliable witnesses'." Generally, children are not encouraged to express opinions, and there is a traditional approach in schools, homes, and courts where the child is considered "impertinent" if he or she expresses ideas or "challenges instructions." However, the law does ostensibly recognize the right of the child of "discernment" to be heard in matters affecting him or her.
Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)
Civil Code (Code Napoleon)
Mauritius has adopted the Napoleonic Code, with some amendments:
Any child who is capable of discernment may apply to be heard in court in any case which concerns him or her.
The judge may designate a person to represent the interest of the child when the latter's interest seems to be in opposition to that of those who represent him in a case.
The Child Protection Act 1994
The Child Protection Act of 1994 allows the Magistrate of the District Court to intervene in a family dispute "when he is satisfied by information of oath that the Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Women, Family Welfare and Child Development or an officer duly authorized by him, reasonably believes that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm."
The Secretary can summon any person (with or without the child) to give evidence for establishing whether the child is suffering significant harm; enter any premises specified in the order to search for the child provided that the order is produced if the occupier asks for it; remove the child or return him to a place of safety; submit the child to medical examination or to urgent treatment; and request police or medical assistance if necessary.
Reporting of children who are suspected of being ill-treated is the responsibility (duty) of any person who exercises a medical or paramedical profession or a member of the staff of a school.
Local Contact Information
Ms. Marie Josee Baudot
Mauritius Chapter of ANPPCAN
 Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Mauritius, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.64 (1996), available at http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/crc/mauritius1996.html.
 Common Country Assessment, supra note 1, at 104.
 Id. at 98.
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