Tanzania Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

In July the UN Human Rights Committee issued its concluding observations after considering Tanzania's fourth periodic report submitted under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Committee expressed concerns about the continued high prevalence of gender-based violence, in particular domestic violence and the lack of effective and concrete measures to combat female genital mutilation; the under-resourcing of the human rights institution – the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance; the ill-treatment of detainees by law enforcement officials; and the failure to recognize and protect the rights of minorities and Indigenous peoples, including in relation to the negative impact of projects such as game parks on the traditional way of life of these communities. The Committee also noted the government's failure to implement its previous recommendations.

Discrimination – attacks on albino people

Killings and mutilation of albino people continued, driven by cultural beliefs that albino body parts will make people rich. Reports indicated that over 20 albino people were killed in 2009, bringing the total to over 50 in two years. Although dozens of people suspected of involvement in the murder and mutilation of albino people were arrested, cases concerning only two killings were concluded in court. The first, in September, found three men guilty of murder; the second, in November, convicted four men. Police investigations of such cases remained slow and the overall government effort to prevent attacks on albino people was inadequate.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

More than 36,000 Burundian refugees in Mtabila refugee camp in western Tanzania were at risk of forcible return. Many of the refugees had their homes set on fire or were threatened with arson by individuals acting under instructions of Tanzanian authorities. Despite evidence of several attempts to forcibly return refugees, the authorities denied the use of coercion and said that the return process was voluntary as part of a tripartite agreement between the governments of Tanzania and Burundi and the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. The government announced that it was committed to the closure of the camp and the return home of the refugees by the end of the year. However, very few refugees registered for the voluntary repatriation exercise. No procedures were in place to assess any individual claims by refugees and asylum-seekers of genuine and well founded fears of persecution upon return to their home country.

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.