Human Rights Council: 33rd Session
Adoption of Tanzania’s UPR Outcome
East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project
Delivered by Estella Kabachwezi
The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project welcomes Tanzania’s efforts towards addressing human rights violations, with a particular focus on those targeting women and people with albinism. However, we remain concerned about the growing number of violations against human rights defenders who challenge the violation of land rights, civil and political rights, health related rights, and minority rights, who are regularly targeted by the state, through arbitrary detention, judicial and administrative harassment, reprisals, and office raids.
Mr. President, restrictive legislation is being used to encroach on the right of human rights defenders to peacefully conduct their work. The restrictive Newspaper Act of 1976, which allows the Minister to ban a newspaper at his own discretion, is continuously used to silence media houses that are critical of the Government. The provision on publishing ‘false information” in the Cyber Crimes Act has been misused to prosecute critical and independent voices, notably on social media.
Exercising press freedom has become steadily more challenging for independent media houses that are facing both censorship from the state and self-censorship due to the climate of intimidation. On August 29 Magic FM and Radio Five, after hosting political discussions, were accused of broadcasting “seditious” material that could incite the public and disturb the peace and ordered to cease broadcasting immediately.
Organisations working on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity have been targeted and threatened with de-registration. Recently, the Community Health Education Services and Advocacy (CHESA), an organisation working on sexual minorities’ health was accused of promoting same sex relations, and were inspected for compliance with the ban on the sale and import of lubricants. In July, Cloud Television was ordered by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority to repeatedly apologise to viewers following an interview with a homosexual man.
Mr President, we call on the Tanzanian government to implement their commitment to guaranteeing the freedom of expression and association by allowing human rights defenders, political opponents and journalists to express freely their views in line with international human rights law.
I thank you.