REUNION
Department of Reunion
Département Île de la Réunion
(Overseas department of France)
Joined United Nations:  24 October 1945
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
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Updated 27 August 2012
CAPITAL
POPULATION
CHIEF OF STATE
SELECTION PROCESS
Saint-Denis
839,500 (July 2011 est.)
Francois Hollande
President of France since 15 May 2012
French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term;
prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of the
French Ministry of Interior;
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
SELECTION PROCESS
Nassimah Dindar
President of the General Council
since 01 March 2004
Presidents of the General and Regional Councils are elected by
the members of those councils
DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
ETHNIC GROUPS
European, African, Malagasy, Indian and Chinese and mixed races
RELIGIONS
Roman Catholic 86%, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist (1995)
GOVERNMENT
STRUCTURE
Overseas Department of France- No first level administrative divisions however there are 4 arrondissements, 24
communes, and 47 cantons. Legal system is French law
Executive: President of France popularly elected for five year term represented by prefect, Presidents of General Council
and Regional Councils appointed by members of councils
Legislative: unicameral General Council (49 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve six-year
terms) and a unicameral Regional Council (45 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve six-year
terms)
Elections: General Council - last held 15 and 22 March 1998 (next to be held NA); Regional Council - last held 28
30 March 2010 (next to be held in 2016)
Judicial: Court of Appeals or Cour d'Appel
LANGUAGES
French (official), Creole widely used
BRIEF HISTORY
Arab sailors used to call this island Adna Al Maghribain ("Western Island"). The Portuguese were the first Europeans
to visit the island, finding it uninhabited in 1513, and naming it Santa Apollonia. The island was then occupied by the
French and administered from Port-Louis, Mauritius. Although the French flag was hoisted by François Cauche in
1638, Santa Apollonia was officially claimed by Jacques Pronis of France in 1642, when he deported a dozen French
mutineers to the island from Madagascar. The convicts were returned to France several years later, and in 1649, the
King of France Louis XIII named the island Île Bourbon after his royal house. "Réunion" was the name given to the
island in 1793 by a decree of the Convention with the fall of the House of Bourbon in France, and the name
commemorates the union of revolutionaries from Marseille with the National Guard in Paris, which took place on
August 10, 1792. In 1801, the island was renamed "Île Bonaparte," after Napoleon Bonaparte. The island was taken
by the British navy led by Commodore Josias Rowley in 1810, who used the old name of "Bourbon." When it was
restored to France by the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the island retained the name of "Bourbon" until 1848, when the
fall of the restored Bourbons during the revolutions during that year meant that the island became "Réunion" once again.
From the 17th to the 19th centuries, French immigration supplemented by influxes of Africans, Chinese, Malays, and
Indians gave the island its ethnic mix. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 cost the island its importance as a
stopover on the East Indies trade route. Réunion became an overseas département of France on March 19, 1946.
Between 15 and 16 March 1952, Cilaos at the center of Réunion received 1,869.9 mm (73.6 in) of rainfall. This is the
greatest 24-hour precipitation total ever recorded on Earth. In 2005 and 2006 Réunion was hit by a crippling epidemic
of chikungunya, a disease spread by mosquitos. According to the BBC News[1], 255,000 people on Réunion had
contracted the disease as of 26 April, 2006. The disease also spread to Madagascar [2] and to mainland France
through airline travel. The disease led to more than 200 deaths on Réunion. The French government under Prime
Minister Dominique de Villepin sent an emergency aid package worth 36 million euros ($42.8M U.S. dollars) and
deployed approximately five hundred French troops in an effort to eradicate mosquitos. Chikungunya means "that
which bends" in the Makonde language of the Tanzania/ Mozambique border region where it was first identified. It can
cause dehydration, extreme pain and high fevers and in some rare cases can be fatal. There is no known cure.
Source:  Wikipedia: History of Reunion
ECONOMIC OVERVIEW
The economy of Réunion has traditionally been based on agriculture. Sugarcane has been the primary crop for more
than a century, and in some years it accounts for 85% of exports. The government has been pushing the development
of a tourist industry to relieve high unemployment, which amounts to more than 40% of the labor force. The gap in
Réunion between the well-off and the poor is large and accounts for the persistent social tensions. The outbreak of
severe rioting in February 1991 illustrated the seriousness of socioeconomic tensions. However, this gap has been
closing in the last 15 years. In 2007 the GDP per capita of Réunion at nominal exchange rates, not at PPP, was 17,146
euros (US$23,501). However, while this is exceptionally high compared with its neighbors in Mauritius, Madagascar
and the African continent, it is only 57% of the 30,140 euros per capita GDP of metropolitan France in 2007. The total
GDP of the island was US$18.8 billion in 2007.
Source: Wikipedia: Economy of Reunion
POLITICAL CLIMATE
The island's conventional name is the Department of Réunion, or Réunion, and a local form of the name is Île de la
Réunion. The flag used on the island is that of France. The island's capital is Saint-Denis, and the island is divided into
four arrondissements, 24 communes and 47 cantons.

Réunion is governed by French law, and its constitution is the French constitution of 28 September 1958. Suffrage is
granted universally to all those over the age of 18.

Elections held in Réunion include the French presidential vote, in which a president is elected by popular vote for a five
year term. A prefect is appointed by the president on the advice of the French Ministry of the Interior. The presidents
of the General and Regional councils are elected by members of those councils.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Reunion
INTERNATIONAL
DISPUTES
None reported.
U.S. State Department
United Nations Human
Rights Council
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
Freedom House
REFUGEES AND
INTERNALLY
DISPLACED PERSONS
(IDP)
None reported.
ILLICIT DRUGS
None reported.
Ligue des Droits de L'Homme-
Section de Saint-Denis de la Reunion
U. S. STATE
DEPARTMENT
HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
2011 Human Rights Report: France (including Reunion)
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 24, 2012

France is a multiparty constitutional democracy. The president of the republic is elected by popular vote for a five-year term.
Nicolas Sarkozy is the incumbent. The upper house (Senate) of the bicameral parliament is elected indirectly through an electoral
college, while the lower house (National Assembly) is elected directly. Elections for seats in the National Assembly and for the
presidency in 2007 and for seats in the Senate in 2011 were considered free and fair. The Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) is
the majority party in parliament. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.

The most significant human rights problem during the year involved government evictions and compulsory repatriations of illegal
immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria, many of whom were Roma. Several attacks against Roma were also reported.
Overcrowded and unhygienic conditions in prisons were compounded by problems in the judicial system, including lengthy pretrial
detention and protracted investigation and trials. French Muslims and others of immigrant origin faced some discrimination,
particularly, in the case of Muslims, as a result of a prohibition against face-covering attire in public institutions.

Other human rights problems reported during the year included antidefamation laws that limited freedom of speech and press,
societal violence against women, anti-Semitic incidents, and trafficking in persons.

The government took steps to prosecute and punish security force and other officials who committed abuses. Impunity was not
widespread.

Note: The country includes 11 overseas administrative divisions that are covered in this report. Four overseas territories in French
Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Reunion, have the same political status as the 22 metropolitan regions and 101 departments on
the mainland. Five divisions are overseas “collectivities”: French Polynesia, Saint-Barthelemy, Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre and
Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna. New Caledonia is a special overseas collectivity with a unique, semiautonomous status between
an independent country and an overseas department. Mayotte became the 101st department on March 31, 201
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UNITED NATIONS
HUMAN RIGHTS
COUNCIL
Note on the implementation in France of the priority concluding observations by the
Committee against Torture of 10 May 2010
27 July 2011

1. In the report by the Committee against Torture (CAT) following its examination in May 2010 of France’s 4th, 5th and 6th
periodic reports, the Committee called on France to submit a reply within a year on its implementation of six of the concluding
observations and recommendations.

2. As part of its remit, the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) examines the follow-up of
comments made to France by international bodies. On this basis, it took the initiative of organising a meeting on 7 February 2011
with the various ministries involved in implementing CAT’s concluding observations and recommendations, in order to assess the
current situation in the lead-up to France’s reply to CAT in May 2011. CNCDH was then consulted by the Government on its draft
reply, in connection with which it submitted its observations for the Government’s final reply to CAT.

3. Some of the observations submitted by CNCDH were taken on board, however most were not followed up. CNCDH is now
therefore letting the Committee against Torture know of its observations based on the French Government’s reply of 9 June 2011,
so as to provide a more complete overview of the follow-up of the Committee’s priority observations.

Examination of the effects of recent criminal policy on prison overcrowding, in the light of articles 11 and 16 of the Convention
· In the area of maintaining family ties, the Government’s reply states that several ‘residential family units’ and ‘family visit rooms’
are being built that should satisfy the requirements of the Prison Act, which guarantees all inmates (in both remand centres and
prisons) access to a visitors’ room four times per year in either a residential family unit or a family visit room. The systems
governing these two types of facility are very different. Family visit rooms are supposed to be mid-way between a traditional
visitors’ room and a residential family unit. They are small rooms approximately 10m2 with a small bathroom with toilet and
shower, a sofa and a television, in which inmates can see visitors; however this is only for a few hours. Residential family units are
type F2 or F3 apartments with an outdoor area, in which inmates and their families can spend some everyday family time for
periods of between 6 and 48 hours and once a year up to 72 hours. However, contrary to the Government’s claim not all inmates
will be able to have access to these units. In the first instance, the prison service has always put forward the excuse of
architectural constraints to explain why it is impossible to create these units. As part of the new building programme, the closure of
30 run-down prisons was certainly announced, however 15 of these are going to be kept and despite the announcement of
renovations, there is nothing to guarantee that the former constraints claimed to be an obstacle will disappear. In addition, in the
most recent building programme (13200), not all establishments were equipped with these facilities20. It seems, moreover, that no
plans have been made to extend access to the residential family units to all inmates (both those on remand and convicted prisoners).
Budget constraints may also delay the use of these facilities. There is therefore a strong likelihood that in many establishments, only
family visit units will be available and that the four times per year minimum laid down in the Prison Act could quickly become a
maximum in practice.
20 There are none in the new Saint-Denis prison on Reunion Island.
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FREEDOM HOUSE
FREEDOM IN THE WORLD- 2009
Comoros (includes mention of Reunion)

Serious tensions between the islands persisted in 2007, as Colonel Mohamed Bacar, president of Anjouan, refused to leave office at
the end of his term in April. He organized unauthorized elections in June to legitimize his continued rule, claiming to have won with
90 percent of the vote. However, in March 2008 a 1,500-strong African Union military force ousted him from power, and in June a
supporter of President Sambi was elected in his place. Bacar was detained for three months by French authorities on the islands of
Mayotte and Reunion and was then deported to Benin.
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AMNESTY
INTERNATIONAL
No Reports from Amnesty International mentioning Reunion after exhaustive search of their database. Please forward
any information you may have regarding Amnesty International efforts on behalf of Reunion to the Pax Gaea World
Report editor at the link below
Contact the editor »
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
No reports from Human Rights Watch mentioning Reunion after exhaustive search of their data base. Please forward
any information you may have regarding Human Rights Watch efforts on behalf of Reunion to the Pax Gaea World
Report editor at the link below.
Contact the editor »
OFFICIAL
GOVERNMENT HUMAN
RIGHTS STATEMENT
TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE
The charter of secularism in the public services
Posted July 6, 2012

The charter of secularism recalls the principles laid down by our law to ensure compliance in the public services of the republican
principle of secularism. It outlines the guarantees it provides and the obligations it entails. The purpose of the charter is to remind
public officials, such as users, what are their rights and duties in this regard, to contribute to the proper functioning of public
services.

France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social. It ensures equality before the law for all citizens without distinction of
origin, race or religion. It guarantees equal rights for men and women and respects all beliefs.

No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the
public order established by law.

Freedom of religion or belief only meets limits required for respect for religious pluralism, the protection of the rights and freedoms
of others, the requirements of public order and civil peace.

The Republic guarantees freedom of conscience and guarantees the free exercise of religion under the conditions laid down by the
Law of 9 December 1905.
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LIGUE DES DROITS DE
L'HOMME- SECTION DE
SAINT-DENIS DE LA
REUNION  
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Riots at the Meeting, the permanence of delegate rights defender fire
23/02/2012

After another night of riots in the Meeting, the office of one of six representatives of the Human Rights Defender at the premises of
the House of Justice and the right Port was completely burned more than 10 years of caseload were also burned.

The Defender of Rights, Baudis visiting the island regrets this act whose first victims are the hundreds of claimants wishing to
advance their rights and freedoms. He also noted that ransacking the premises, it is access to the right which is thus called into
question.

The Defender of Rights would recall more than 500 cases were handled in 2011 by six representatives of the Human Rights
Defender present on the Island.
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LA MEDIATEUR DE LA
REPUBLIQUE
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THE SOCIAL MOVEMENT OF FORMER EMPLOYEES OF A SERIES OF ARAST POSE QUESTIONS TO BE
SUBMITTED TO THE CITIZEN EVALUATION
Communiqué of 28 January 2012

Following the agreement announced on ex-employees of the ARAST the office section of the LDH Meeting met this 27/01/2012
draw the conclusions of this social movement which the exceptional LDH has supported for 2 years as an independent and
non-partisan. Subject to the rapid implementation of public commitments made by the General Council and the AGS, the agreement
obtained demonstrates the strength of the collective action of the citizens rights, which is a major source of satisfaction.

However, the history of the movement that led the DDA at the request of former employees of the ARAST to propose mediation
then enter the Defender of Human Rights at national level, brings up a series of questions that should now submit for assessment
citizen.

While the rights of former employees of the ARAST were recognized by all parties, why these workers, mostly women, were they
given two years of struggle and violence in two hunger strikes?

While an interim agreement had been recommended two years ago by the prefectural authority and such an agreement is possible
and necessary today recognized by the General Council and the AGS, why did it take two years for public authorities to ensure
respect for the rights of the employees concerned?

Why the local representative Rights Defender requested by employees of ARAST and arrested by the LDH, he at first refused his
assistance, which led the League to enter the Human Rights Defenders at the national level in December last?

What reasons for the silence of various organizations or parties claiming the rights?

While ARAST background was funded public for general interest missions, why has he not been possible to prevent social disaster
constituted by the failure of the association employing 1200 employees and what are the responsibilities involved?

LDH, who is confirmed in its efforts to respect for economic and social rights in Reunion invites citizens and public actors of our
department to bring these questions. It invites them to measure the exact state of our social dialogue in times of crisis aggravates
the situation of the most disadvantaged, and in a spirit of solidarity and justice, to learn the social movement of ex-employees of the
'ARAST whose courage and determination should be applauded.
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Represented by
Jean-Luc Marx
Prefect since 27 August 2012
Didier Robert
President of the Regional Council
since 30 March 2010
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Click on flag for Country Report
TRAFFICKING IN
PERSONS
None reported.