UN Human Rights Council – 38th regular session
Item 4: Human Rights situation that require the Council’s attention
Oral statement delivered by Mr. Nicolas Agostini
Mr. Vice president,
We would like to draw the Council’s attention to the situation in Tanzania, which increasingly resembles a case of needed preventative action.
Since 2015, Tanzania has taken a series of steps to restrict civic space and its citizens’ fundamental rights. Media outlets have been shut down or suspended. Human rights defenders (HRDs) have been harassed, threatened, and stigmatised. NGOs, including those working on LGBTI issues, have been arbitrarily suspended or de-registered. Members of the opposition, including MPs, have been assaulted and killed. The fate or whereabouts of journalist Azory Gwanda, who disappeared in November 2017, remain unknown.
The Media Services Act, the Cybercrimes Act, the Statistics Act and other laws, which have been used to silence independent voices, should be reviewed and amended in line with Tanzania’s domestic and international obligations.
We call on member and observer states to send the Tanzanian government a message, including through joint statements, that this trend should be put to an end. We welcome Tanzania’s invitation to the Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, made yesterday at a side event, and call on the government to swiftly set a date for a visit.
Mr. Vice president,
Sudan continues to put a strain on this Council’s time and resources by abusing agenda item 10, which is dedicated to technical assistance and capacity-building. What Sudan needs is political will to improve the situation and bring impunity to an end, not more technical support.
In the last few months, HRDs, opposition members, and students have been arbitrarily arrested, ill-treated, banned from traveling, or detained incommunicado by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in connection with anti-austerity protests and other public gatherings. Sexual violence remains widespread, in conflict and non-conflict zones, and continues to be used as a weapon of war.
We urge the immediate and unconditional release of Noura Hussein, a victim of child marriage and marital rape, who was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and a fine for killing her husband in self-defence.
Thank you for your attention.