1. Cabinet has taken note of the report produced by the National Economic and Social Council entitled "The Economic and Social Implications of HIV/AIDS in Mauritius" which evaluates the economic and social implications of HIV/AIDS in Mauritius. The Council, which aims at promoting dialogue as a means of achieving consensus for social integration to keep pace with economic development, has, after extensive consultations with stakeholders, made a number of recommendations which fit within an overall strategy aimed at limiting the spread of the epidemic. The recommendations are inter alia as follows -
(i) the structure and responsibilities of the National Aids Committee need to be strengthened and more properly defined. It should be supported by a permanent secretariat operating autonomously with a budget of its own.
(ii) The National Aids Committee should comprise representatives of institutions engaged in AIDS-related activities as well as those representing the labour force and employers. Where necessary, the Committee can co-opt members of the religious bodies.
(iii) The role of NGOs and key Ministries engaged in AIDS prevention programmes should be clearly spelt out by the National Aids Committee to avoid duplication of tasks or overlapping of responsibilities.
(iv) The Mauritius Employer's Federation needs to create a common fund to finance awareness creation programmes in vulnerable sectors and industries.
2. In the light of the recommendations made by Mr C.B. Richard Ellis, Consultant who was appointed to carry out a review of Government-owned lands in Mauritius with a view to improving State land lease policy, Cabinet has agreed to a High Powered Committee chaired by the Prime Minister looking into the implementation of these recommendations which relate to –
(i) the terms and procedures for management and disposition of State lands;
(ii) the need for the Ministry of Housing & Lands to establish a database to record details of its own properties and to collate evidence of market value;
(iii) the reorganization of the Survey Division of the Ministry of Housing & Lands; and
(iv) the review of land registration system and taxation reforms to provide for a new computer-based land registration system with transaction recorded by parcel and not, as at present, as a document-based system.
3. Cabinet has taken note of the Amnesty International Report 2006 which purports to document human rights issues of concern to Amnesty International during the year 2005. Country Reports contain allegations of –
(i) torture and ill-treatment in custody in many countries;
(ii) police abuse in countries as diverse as Austria, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, France, India, South Africa and Switzerland; and
(iii) violence against women in many countries, including Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Kenya, Namibia, Portugal, the Russian Federation and Spain.
The Report makes no reference to human rights issues in Mauritius.
4. Cabinet has taken note of the latest developments on a number of issues discussed by the Prime Minister during his visit to France in March this year, namely –
(i) the French Authorities have agreed to donate to Mauritius 400,000 Euros in the fight against Chikungunya;
(ii) the French Authorities have set up a Committee to work on the Commemoration of the Naval Battle of Grand Port during the Napoleonic Wars; and
(iii) the organisation of a Meeting of Health Ministers of the region with a view to devising a common approach to combat mosquito–born diseases in the region.
5. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Additional Remuneration Bill which would give effect to Government’s decision regarding the payment of an additional remuneration to all employees of the private sector to compensate them for the increase in the cost of living, i.e., a full salary compensation of 5% for those drawing a monthly salary of Rs 2,700 or less and a salary compensation of Rs 135 for those earning more than Rs 2,700.
6. Cabinet has taken note of proposals for the twinning of the town of Quatre Bornes with Neuilly - Plaisance of France and of Black River District Council with Panaji Municipal Corperation of Goa. The twinning arrangements would go a long way in promoting tourism and investment in the country, including Foreign Direct Investment and also assist in capacity building and the strengthening cultural ties.
7. In order to sensitize the public on the need to protect the elderly persons against abuse, Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions had organized a Symposium on 15 June 2006 at the Grand Baie International Conference Centre to associate itself with international movements of NGOs, namely, the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the International Federation of Ageing, together with World Health Organisation, during which the following themes were discussed -
(a) the psychological aspects of Elder Abuse;
(b) the challenges and trends on Elder Abuse and the way forward; and
(c) the Protection of the Elderly Persons Act 2005.
8. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life would promulgate the Traditional Medicine Board (Ayurvedic and Other Traditional Medicine Institutions) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 to allow holders of Ayurvedacharya, Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery awarded by Sampurnanand Sanskrit University of Varanasi, to practise in Mauritius.
9. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius acceding to the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict which represents the first international treaty of worldwide scope focusing exclusively on the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict, namely -
(i) movable or immovable property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people, such as monuments of architecture, art or history and objects of artistic, historical and archaeological interest;
(ii) buildings, such as museums and libraries, meant to preserve or exhibit the movable cultural property; and
(iii) centres containing a large amount of cultural property.
This Convention helps ensure social and cultural continuity between past, present and future generations and also helps to strengthen both national identity, open-mindedness and respect for cultural diversity.