Saturday, December 11, 2010

Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Tanzania

Prepared by; Onesmo Olengurumwa
Research Officer Legal and Human Rights Centre
10th December, 2010 Presented at Karimjee Hall
Organized by CHRAGG
1.0 who is human rights defender

Human rights defender” is a term used to describe people who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights,

Human rights defenders are identified above all by what they do and it is through a description of their actions,

Human rights defenders are individuals and groups, such as non-governmental Organisation (NGO), Workers, lawyers, journalists, University students leaders, and private individuals, political activists who criticise government policies, Trade Union, workers Associations and judicial activists who stands boldly to defend the rights of people and raise awareness of human rights.

2.0 What Do they Do?

Monitor and report Human Rights violations such as witchcraft killings, extra judicial killings, arbitral use of power etc.)
Stand for the rights and freedom of minority and indigenous groups
Expose corruption
Fight against harmful traditional practices ( eg FGM, Children abuse, women discrimination etc)
Rise Public awareness on human rights issues
Document all sorts of human rights violations
Helping to draft appropriate legislation, and in helping to draw up national plans and strategies on human rights.

2.1HRD,s Most at Risk
Investigative journalist
HRD’s from indigenous /minority groups
Human Rights NGO’s
University Students leaders
Political activists
Human Rights lawyers
HRD’s in Rural areas
3.0 Challenges of HR Defenders

Defenders themselves have increasingly become targets of attacks and their rights are violated in many ways as follows:
Threats from the government officials, harassment, detention, ill-treatment, illegal arrest, torture, fabricated cases, selected judicial proceedings,
Lack of legal protection at national level
Access to information,
lack of national unity and solidarity among HRD’s
Restrictions on their freedoms of movement, expression, association and assembly
Lack of organizational/institutional security plans,
Financial problems
Perception that Tz is peaceful country and Tanzania’s human rights record is the best,
Lack of clear collaboration between media and HR organizations
Low level of Human Rights awareness
Intimidation to active diplomatic missions

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