Tanzania: Immediate Steps to Protect Women Are Requested by the UN Human Rights Committee
By FIDH on Tuesday 4 August 2009, 11:53 - Permalink
Geneva 3rd Aug 09 – The UN Human Rights Committee examined the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in Tanzania during its 96th session (13 – 31 July 2009).
On this occasion, the Southern Africa Human Rights NGO Network, the Legal and Human Rights Centre, the Tanganyika Law Society and the Centre for Civil and Political Rights (CCPR Centre) submitted a report on the Human Rights situation in Tanzania. This report highlighted the particular concerns such as the death penalty, overcrowding in prisons, indigenous peoples and the independence of NGOs.
The report also reveals that Albinos are subjected to brutalities and killings. According to the NGO findings, more than 40 Albinos have been killed in the past two years for reasons associated with superstition and witchcraft. The perpetrators must answer for their crimes. UN Experts recommended that Tanzania “as a matter of urgency, strengthen its efforts to put a halt to incidents of mutilation and killings of persons with albinism, and to ensure the timely and efficient conduct of investigations and prosecution of the perpetrators”.
“Violence against women is a major concern for rights groups. Marital rape and endemic female genital mutilation (FGM) demonstrate a deplorable attitude towards women, as several cases in the NGO reports illustrate”, said Clarence Kipobota of the Legal and Human Rights Centre. Additionally, inheritance of widows concerned the experts. Both the law and customary practices violate Article 3 of the ICCPR. In its concluding observations and recommendations released on July 31st the Human Rights Committee emphasized the importance of taking concrete steps towards eliminating domestic violence. The Committee recommended that the authorities “should take all necessary measures to effectively combat violence against women”. It further recommended that “domestic violence, including marital rape, should be defined and criminalized and called on the authorities “to sensitize society as a whole” and “ensure that the perpetrators of such acts are prosecuted”.
Tanzania must implement these recommendations as rapidly as possible in order to comply with its international obligations and report back to the Committee by July 2010, on the measures taken to implement recommendations selected for the follow-up procedure. “It is a matter of urgency to tackle the shortcomings identified by the Human Rights Committee in order to comply with the ICCPR” said Patrick Mutzenberg of the CCPR Centre.
Contact: Patrick Mutzenberg – CCPR Centre: firstname.lastname@example.org
UN Human Rights Concluding Observations on Tanzania available here