Freedom of expression
The government lifted the ban it had imposed in October 2008 on the weekly MwanaHALISI newspaper. However, a number of journalists, in both mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar, reported threats and complained of harassment in relation to media stories about high-ranking individual politicians.
The redrafted Media Services Bill, which regulates the media and includes input from civil society on a 2007 draft bill, had not been published or submitted to parliament by the end of the year.
Violence against women and girls
Reports on violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, marital rape and marriage of young girls, remained widespread. Female genital mutilation continued to be practised, including in some urban areas.
Local civil society organizations recorded a very low rate of prosecutions for perpetrators of gender-based violence.
Right to health
The maternal mortality ratio continued to be high, with between 8,000 and 13,000 women dying every year, according to reports. This was attributed mainly to an acute dearth of health facilities and qualified medical professionals, particularly in rural areas.
Prison conditions - both on the mainland and in Zanzibar - continued to be harsh and there were reports of torture and other ill-treatment.
Local human rights groups recorded a marginal decrease in prison overcrowding and noted that the problem was mainly due to delays in adjudicating court cases and an inadequate use by courts of non-custodial sentences. According to the Legal and Human Rights Centre and Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, almost half of the prison population comprised pre-trial detainees.
Courts continued to hand down death sentences. As of May, the government stated that 292 prisoners were being held under sentence of death. A petition filed by three civil society organizations in 2008 challenging the constitutionality of the death penalty remained pending in the High Court.
Amnesty International visit/reports
An Amnesty International delegate visited mainland Tanzania in October.
Four Tanzanians sentenced to death for killing an albino man (3 November 2009)
Tanzania: Burundian refugees must not be intimidated to return home, (29 June 2009)