Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A joint concerted efforts needed to curb with human rights violations

Tanzania’s government has been told to do more in scaling down human rights violations regarding freedom of expression, women and children’s rights, social rights, freedom of association and rights of human rights defenders. Political rights, minority’s rights, pastoralist and economic rights. National coordinator of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) Onesmo Olengurumwa made the call on behalf of the 103 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) when presenting recommendations to United Nations’ Universal Periodical Review (UPR)-Pre -Session, a mechanism to assess UN member state implementation of various human rights recommendations given to each country. The findings by CSOs show that 9 per cent of the 107 recommendations given to the Tanzania government at the first UPR in 2011 have been fully implemented, 62 per cent partially implemented, and 29 per cent have not been implemented. Olengurumwa said that CSOs collectively monitored and documented the implementation of 107 UPR recommendations which the government of Tanzania accepted. “Out of 107 recommendations, nine per cent have been fully implemented, 62 per cent partially implemented, and 29 per cent have not been implemented,” Olengurumwa said. Olengurumwa hailed the Tanzanian government’s effort in formulating policies, laws and strategies in relation to human rights. However, he said Tanzanina CSOs wanted the government to end impunity for violations against innocent people, journalists and human rights defenders by ensuring that investigations are promptly and impartially conducted, perpetrators are held accountable, and victims obtain appropriate remedies. He called for establishment of investigative and prosecution organ to process all the cases where security organs are accused. 

The CSOs also urged the government to repeal all draconian laws that impinge on freedom of expression and that of the media as well as provide space for discussions with stakeholders in the establishment of laws and policies related to access to information and media services. According to Olengurumwa, the government should also repeal all restrictive provisions of the Cyber Crimes and Statistics Acts which are unconstitutional and replace them with progressive sections that would guarantee the public’s access to information in line with international standards. CSOs also want the government to create a civic space and conducive environment for civil society and human rights defenders (HRDs) to work freely, develop national policy and law that recognizes and protects human rights NGOs and human rights defenders in Tanzania. “We want all laws that restrict and affect the work of CSOs and human rights defenders in Tanzania to be amended to create an environment for HRDs, civil society and the media to operate in accordance with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. We also want the amendment of the provision of the Non-Governmental Organizations Act of 2002 that compels CSOs registered under any other law to comply with the NGOs Act, release all the CSOs electoral monitoring devices seized and retained by the police for six months now since the 2015 election,” he said. The CSOs also suggested the need for the government to increase allocation of education development funds to address education challenges as well as establish an independent school inspectorate body with adequate budget for effective inspection. They called on the government to restore teachers’ morale by paying all outstanding arrears and improve their working conditions, implement the Abuja Declaration by increasing the health sector budget to at least 15 per cent of the total government budget.

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