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TANZANIA: Human Rights Committee Consideres Report On Tanzania

The Human Rights Committee this morning concluded its consideration of the fourth periodic report of Tanzania on the measures undertaken by that country to implement the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Presenting the report, Mathias Meinrad Chikawe, Minister for Constitutional Affairs and Justice of Tanzania, said that the laws of marriage, inheritance and succession were the subject of a protracted debate, which related not only to issues of gender equality, but also involved deep religious and strong cultural beliefs. The legislation was currently in the process of review in order to take on board the rights of every citizen. The process was delicate and sensitive and if not property handled might become volatile. Regarding the issue of access to education for women, the Government had recorded significant achievements since the last periodic report. Tanzania had put in place policies as well as legislation to govern compulsory primary education enrolment, secondary education, access to education for those who had missed the opportunity for formal education, as well as affirmative education programmes for girls. The Government had also recognized the need for having women in decision-making positions. Women now constituted not less than 30 per cent of the Members of Parliament and the House of Representatives. Regarding marital rape, the issue was an alien concept in Tanzania that required a deeper and wider debate.

The death penalty presented a challenge to Tanzania, because on the one hand there were diverse opinions among Tanzanians on its abolition and, on the other, there were exigencies for its retention, Mr. Chikawe said. There was a case pending in the High Court challenging the constitutionality of that penalty. For the moment, the Government continued to exercise a moratorium on the execution of the death penalty. Corporal punishment was still maintained in Tanzania's statute book and was applicable to those convicted of certain offences. However, caning was not classified as a corporal punishment but rather as a corrective measure in the education to pupils or students for acts of gross indiscipline.

Over the course of two meetings, the Tanzanian delegation answered questions by the Committee members relating to a number of issues, including the integration of the Covenant in domestic legislation; domestic violence; education for women and girls; female genital mutilation; witchcraft and killings of albinos; counter-terrorism measures; powers of emergency; prison overcrowding; corporal punishment in detention centres and the education system; prohibition of consensual sex between same-sex persons; the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities, and special programmes for them; and concern that the legislation on non-governmental organizations was overly restrictive.

Experts particularly highlighted the need to criminalize marital rape, saying it was not such a new concept. Moreover, it was not only a matter of tradition or up for debate it was a clear violation of several articles of the Covenant. The State had to play the role of a locomotive to move society and raise it to a desired level instead of going down to an ossified level, Experts said. It was also suggested that the abolition of marital rape be included in the National Action Plan on Gender-based Violence. Another area of particular concern was the need to abolish the death penalty. Noting that there were 292 persons living on death row in Tanzania, it was asked how long a person could remain on death row after being condemned to death? Experts noted that such long waits could be considered as torture, and a commutation to another kind of punishment should be considered.

The Tanzanian delegation also included members of the President's Office Good Governance Zanzibar; the Attorney General's Office; the Tanzania Prison Services; the High Court of Tanzania; the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs and Human Rights; the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism; and the Permanent Mission of Tanzania to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

When the Committee resumes its work at 3 p.m. this afternoon it will start its review of the fourth periodic report of the Netherlands (CCPR/C/NET/4, CCPR/C/NET/4/Add.1 and CCPR/C/NET/Add.2).

Report of Tanzania

According to the fourth periodic report of Tanzania (CCPR/TZA/4), derogation from the right to life is permitted by the Constitution during a state of emergency for reasons of confronting individuals who are believed to be conducting themselves in a manner that endangers or compromises national security. However, it also provides for conditions and restrictions on the derogation to ensure that derogation is not done arbitrarily. Tanzania still maintains the death penalty in murder and treason cases, and has set strong safeguards before administering capital punishment and its exceptions. This is also the position of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. The argument for this punishment is still constitutional and significant. It is a means of dealing with incorrigible individuals; it is a general deterrent measure and the only form of retribution for particularly serious crimes such as murder. As of 1 August 2004, 387 prisoners have received a death sentence, 9 of whom were women. Extrajudicial killings, mob violence and other forms of outrageous killings are also not sanctioned by law. The Government constantly condemns people who take the law into their hands. Regular statements are made by the Government as a way of educating the public at large and the police officers involved in these acts.

The report notes that the Constitution of Tanzania prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The Government is under way to ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the process is still in the very initial stages. Despite the fact that ratification has not taken place, the Government has been making efforts to ensure that the international standards laid down by the Convention are met. Regarding the status of punishment under the Witchcraft Act, the position of the law is that Tanzania does not believe in witchcraft. However, Tanzania enacted the law to provide for the punishment of witchcraft and certain dangerous acts accompanied by witchcraft under the Witchcraft Act, because there are a few Tanzanians who believe in it. If any person is mentioned, believed, or caught practising witchcraft and if sufficient evidence is brought before the court of law against such persons, he or she shall be declared guilty of the offence of witchcraft and be punished in accordance with the law. However it should be noted that any person who commits an offence without any intent such as causing death, disease, injury, or misfortune to any community, or injury to any property cannot be tried until the consent of the Attorney-General or the Zonal State Attorney in charge is obtained. The main reason for obtaining consent is to ensure that experienced law experts peruse the record to determine whether or not to prosecute.

Presentation of the Report

MATHIAS MEINRAD CHIKAWE, Minister for Constitutional Affairs and Justice of Tanzania, introducing the report, said that the laws of marriage, inheritance and succession were the subject of a protracted debate. The debate related not only to issues of gender equality, specifically rights of women, but also involved deep religious and strong cultural beliefs. The legislation was currently in the process of review in order to take on board the rights of every citizen. The process was delicate and sensitive and if not property handled might become volatile. Regarding the issue of access to education for women, the Government had recorded significant achievements since the last periodic report. Tanzania had put in place policies as well as legislation to govern compulsory primary education enrolment, secondary education, access to education for those who had missed the opportunity of formal education, as well as affirmative education programmes for girls. The Government had also recognized the need for having women in decision-making positions. Women now constituted not less than 30 per cent of the Members of Parliament and the House of Representatives.

On violence against women, the Government had taken legal and administrative measures to curb that problem. Tanzania had resolved in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to conduct a countrywide research project to determine the extent of violence against women, cruelty against the disadvantaged such as albinos, children and the elderly and to fully implement the existing National Plan of Action on Gender-based Violence. Regarding the issue of trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children and the National Plan of Action on Trafficking in Human Beings, currently there were no official data on trafficking in women. Trafficking was done in secret and was mixed with the regular rural urban migration. The Government, with the support of the International Organization for Migration, had established a support project to combat trafficking.

The issue of marital rape was addressed against the backdrop of competing needs for ensuring the sustenance of the marriage institution at the same time as the need to criminalize rape in all its forms. The Penal Code was amended in 1998 to criminalize sexual violence in almost all its forms. However, that legislation recognized rape for legally separated couples and statutory rape for girls under 18 years of age. With the diverse opinions and issues on the subject, the question of introducing full statutory rape for married couples was an alien concept in Tanzania that required a deeper and wider debate. Female genital mutilation was criminalized under the Penal Code. However, owing to deep-rooted customs and traditions there was social resistance to enforcing that law, as had been demonstrated from the few reported cases in Tanzania's replies to the list of issues.

The death penalty presented a challenge to Tanzania, because on the one hand there were diverse opinions among Tanzanians on its abolition and, on the other, because there were exigencies for its retention. There was also mounting external pressure for its abolition. There was a case pending in the High Court challenging the constitutionality of that penalty. For the moment, the Government continued to exercise a moratorium on the execution of the death penalty. Corporal punishment was still maintained in Tanzania's statute book and was applicable to those convicted of certain offences. However, caning was not classified as a corporal punishment but rather as a corrective measure in the education to pupils or students for acts of gross indiscipline.

It was unfortunate that recently Tanzania had experienced the new phenomenon of killings of albinos. People with albinism had become vulnerable to attacks and unwarranted killings from persons who nurtured archaic and superstitious beliefs of witchcraft and took body parts and limbs of albinos who had been killed. Tanzania's report provided further details on the Government's measures regarding the killings.

The treatment of prisoners was hindered by dilapidated prison facilities, an increased crime rate and custodial sentences. That had constrained capacity and space for custodial sentences. The solution to those problem entailed measures for improvement of conditions of detention, decongestion strategies and building new prison compounds in newly established administrative districts to cope with the increasing custodies, the delegation said.

Oral Answers to Written Questions Submitted in Advance by Experts

The delegation explained, regarding the integration of the Covenant into domestic law, that several laws had been enacted during the past years, including the Political Parties Acts, the National Elections Acts and the Newspapers Act. Tanzanians had been given the right to access the courts to exercise their rights. On the powers of the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance, it had an advisory role. The following laws had been amended: the Preventive Detention Act, whereby a detainee now had the right to challenge the detention; the Resettlement of Offenders Act; the Criminal Procedure Act; the Societies Ordinance; and the Newspapers Act, which did away with the State's monopoly on information. As to inheritance and succession, the Government had elaborated a white paper to collect the views of the people before making a decision. As to spinsters in Zanzibar, the legislation in question had been repealed in 2005. It had stipulated that unmarried women who got pregnant between 18 and 23 could go into custody.

On women, the delegation emphasized that primary education was compulsory. However, there was a very high dropout rate, due to teenage pregnancy, truancy and AIDS. Women now constituted 33 per cent of the Members of Parliament. The Government was determined to assess the extent of violence against women, which was due to the patriarchal nature of the citizenry. As to female genital mutilation, the representative said that the youth under 18 were most vulnerable. There was social resistance to the enforcement of the existing law prohibiting the mutilation.

On counter-terrorism, the Act of 2002 did not define terrorism but acts of terrorism. Units had been established within various agencies to provide information exchange. As to the death penalty, there was an elaborate process to be followed before the execution of the death penalty. On corporal punishment, the representative explained that females were not affected and males over 50 years were also excluded.

On the killing of people with albinism, the representative said that nine suspects had been apprehended. To date, trials of five cases had started and further cases were awaiting trial.

Oral Questions by Committee Members

As far as the Covenant was concerned, an Expert said that Tanzania had opted for dualism. If a comparison was made between Tanzanian legislation and the Covenant, differences were observed regarding corporal punishment, female genital mutilation, inheritance and succession, and imprisonment for indebtedness. Before ratifying an international Covenant, the country should review its legislation regarding its compatibility with the international treaty. That seemed not to have been the case in Tanzania. National legislation prevailed over international legislation. Nevertheless, the Covenant had been invoked before Courts and the judges had used it. Was there any intention to assess the compatibility of the Covenant with domestic legislation? That would bring great credit to Tanzania.

Experts also asked for more information about the independence of the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance, including its composition; the scope of its investigation powers; whether it was obliged to pass cases on to the judiciary if mediation was not successful; and a response to reports that the Commission lacked financial resources in order to carry out its mandate.

As for women, the Committee welcomed the representation quota, which was not the case in many countries in the North and South. However, the traditional values and behaviours were bothersome, especially as they related to education which women were prevented from in some cases. The State should be proactive and spearhead movements to change opinion; it was up to the State to lead and not to follow society. There were traditions that were hugely detrimental to human beings. As far as primary schooling was concerned, the notion of compulsory schooling was very relative especially concerning females. What could be done so that girls went to school? In addition, the marriage laws jeopardized schooling for women, as marriage could take place at the age of 14 years.

Regarding domestic violence, the Government had recognized that that was a major problem. Experts asked for statistical information on complaints or conviction. On marital rape, that was not only a matter of tradition or up for debate it was a clear violation of several articles of the Covenant. It was suggested that the abolition of marital rape be included in the National Action Plan on Gender-based Violence. Turning to female genital mutilation, the fines that had to be paid suggested that female genital mutilation could be practised as long as the fines were paid.

Regarding the death penalty, an Expert said that there were 292 persons condemned to death. Fortunately, they were not going to be executed. But they were living on death row because of the moratorium. The fact that they were not being executed should also imply a reform of the system and certain flexibility was needed in this case. How long could a person remain on death row after being condemned to death? That could be considered as torture, and a commutation to another kind of punishment should be considered.

On the issue of violence against and killings of Albinos, traditional and non-traditional chiefs justified such deeds, which was problematic. Those criminal murders were unacceptable. There was also the question of education. Where there any other measures that could be taken to protect the Albinos to put them out of reach of attacks? As to witchcraft, Tanzania should elaborate more on the measures it was taking in that regard. For example, to what extent could education policies deal with that problem and to what extent could deportation be used?

Regarding counter-terrorism, it was not enough to know what bodies had been set up to deal with those matters; it was important to know what the rights of individuals were that had been accused of being involved in such activities. Similarly, what measures where available to deal with irregularities that would emerge during a state of emergency? It had been noted that in a state of emergency it was possible to derogate from the right to life, which was highly problematic in the view of the Committee.

As to consensual sex between same-sex persons, a Committee member noted that penalties had increased and sometimes even equalled penalties for killing. What was the justification for criminalizing such behaviour and why had penalties been increased? What was the situation regarding discrimination based on real of perceived gender identity? Criminal repression of homosexuality constituted discrimination. An Expert made reference to the exhibition of a transgender person in a hospital, which could be classified as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. What steps had been taken following that incident?

Other issues of concern for Experts included the number of persons that went to Court without legal aid; the fact that corporal punishment was accepted in detention facilities as well as in the educational system; overcrowding in prisons, with prison capacity exceeded by more than 40 per cent; more information about the possibility of individuals lodging complaints before a special task force, including results achieved; what mechanisms existed for prisoners or detainees to lodge complaints, including that they were tortured;

Answers by the Delegation

Mr. Chikawe said, regarding the powers of the State during a state of emergency, that the President had to go to Parliament to obtain those powers. Life was protected by the Constitution and therefore also during an emergency.

As to the death penalty, Mr. Chikawe said that Tanzania was not ready to abolish the death penalty. The crime rate was very high and the death penalty was needed. However, after the High Court had approved that the sentence would be carried out there was a Committee that advised the President who had the last word. It was an unofficial policy that sentences were not being carried out. If the President said, for example in the case of killings of Albinos, that a person that had killed an Albino had to die, the person had to die. The Government could not ignore what the public wished. The people said that they wanted to keep the death penalty. How could the Government act against the people? It could not. However, the Government was slowly working towards abolishment of the death penalty. The 292 people on the death row had not completed the process yet, they had not gone through the Court of Appeal. It was true that Rwanda had abolished the death penalty, which was commendable and a process of healing for the country.

Tanzania had no law against marital rape because it did not exist. Most of the people in Tanzania were Christians. They were married in church where through marriage two bodies became one and one body could not rape itself. It was a completely new concept and needed discussion. As to same-sex relationship, Mr. Chikawe said that Tanzanian society did not approve of same-sex activities. They looked at it with disdain, as it was unnatural. It was an offence, but the sentences had not been increased. The sentences on sexual offences had been increased to protect women and children under 18. There was no death penalty for homosexuality.

As to offences against those in detention, Mr. Chikawe said that now a new body had been instituted that would prosecute. Before, the police investigated, detained and prosecuted. During the last year in which the new procedure had been in place, many changes had been observed and the number of detainees was expected to decrease. Of course, there was no immunity for police officers committing crimes against prisoners. Such cases would be investigated also by the Commission of Human Rights and Good Governance.

Mr. Chikawe agreed with the Committee that the disparities between customary law and court decisions were a subject that Tanzania had to address. On abortion, he said that there were exceptions, for example if the life of the mother could be saved through abortion. Legal aid existed if there was no representation. There was legal aid in higher courts, but not in primary courts. In those old native courts it was one against another, without representation but that should be changed.

Female genital mutilation, historically speaking, was a rite of passage. After having passed through female genital mutilation a woman could get married and would be included in the group of adult women. Otherwise she would be considered as a child all her life. People had to be educated that they could grow up without being mutilated. Right now, the contrary was the case and girls ran away in order to be mutilated so that they would be considered as adults. If a person that performed the mutilation were taken to court, no witnesses would be found. The law was in place, but the people needed to understand and discard the practice.

Mr. Chikawe clarified that no killing was justified in Tanzania, as might have been suggested while addressing the killing of albinos. The Government did not believe in witchcraft and undertook measures to deal with those issues, especially through educational measures. The Act on Witchcraft penalized, among others, the possession of instruments of witchcraft. The penalty was very severe, as imprisonment for not less than seven years if someone would want to inflict harm or damage to any person or possession using witchcraft. In addition, a multi-disciplinary taskforce had been formed down to the village levels and secret ballots had been conducted in which people voted on who had engaged in such practices. Human rights were observed during those ballots. And the killing of albinos had almost stopped.

As to irregularities under the state of emergency, there was an Act for procedures during a state of emergency. The existing laws stood and were not suspended during a state of emergency.

The laws of succession involved deep cultural knowledge. If not properly handled, the situation could become volatile. That was why the views of the people had to be collected. As to the age of marriage, which was 18 internationally, it was explained that Tanzania had a big Muslim community. Muslims thought a girl to be marriageable as soon as she attained puberty and Tanzania wanted to respect those cultural beliefs.

Turning to the domestication of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Mr. Chikawe said that domestic law would only prevail over international law as long as the Covenant had not fully been domesticated.

Further Questions by Committee Members

In a second round of questions, concerning criminal prohibition of same-sex activities, an Expert noted that regardless of the cultural specificities Tanzania was confronted with a problem. The dislike of such activities did not justify the non-implementation of the Covenant. In Zanzibar, the law was amended and the penalty raised to 25 years imprisonment. An Expert noted that the current practice of the Government of prohibiting same-sex activities was also posing an obstacle to HIV/AIDS prevention, as the Tanzanian HIV Commission had reported as well.

An Expert reiterated the Commission's views on marital rape and strongly urged the delegation to reconsider its position on the matter.

An Expert asked for confirmation that there was no corporal punishment in school, as the Education Act itself provided for such punishment.

Answers by the delegation

Responding to those and other questions, Mr. Chikawe said that same-sex activities were unacceptable in Tanzania. Homosexuality was not acceptable and that was that. Tanzania accepted what the international Covenant said but, in Tanzania, when someone declared that they were a homosexual he or she could be stoned by the public. The maximum punishment was seven years imprisonment, not more. The delegation was not aware of the fact that the punishment of same-sex activities would hinder HIV prevention measures.

As to corporal punishment, Mr. Chikawe said that corporal punishment was not used in schools. In courts it was used to punish a person, in schools it was used to correct students. It was specifically caning that was used in schools.

Turning to the expulsion of foreigners, it was explained that Tanzania had never engaged in forceful return of refugees. Neither physical abuses, nor looting was committed to their belongings. Tanzania should be commended for its treatment of refugees.

As to the right to fair trial, the rule was that an accused person had to be taken to court within 24 hours. There were exceptions, such as if the person had been arrested in relation to suspicion of grave crimes. In those cases, it could take longer to get to a court, but would still happen within a reasonable time frame. As to detention for inability to pay debts, detention was only a last resort. The law prohibited detention for longer than six months. A review of that provision was also currently being conducted.

Regarding child labour, it was prohibited by law. Tanzania was also committed to eliminating the worst forms of child labour, with international assistance, including sexual exploitation and domestic service by 2010.

Questions by the Committee

In a third round of questions, an Expert said that marital rape was not such a new concept, as it had already been mentioned in the Committee's previous report. Another Expert said that it was an important issue, as it affected the family and the safety of the person. Marriage was based on consent. The Committee was relieved to see that the Government was not always following public opinion, as it had shown in the case of the killing of Albinos. That could now also be the case for marital rape. The State had to play the role of a locomotive to move society and raise it to a desired level instead of going down to an ossified level. Tradition was also used to justify female genital mutilation, exclusion of women from inheritance, and mistreatment of albinos.

Other questions included what the relation between official law and customary law was, in particular in light of information from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that 70 per cent of Tanzanians were guided by customary law; whether the Government had deported refugees from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo this year; and issues regarding voting rights, including a lack of a mention of the right to vote and be represented in the Constitution, and the fact that a huge amount of money had to be deposited if someone wanted to challenge a vote.

As to imprisonment because of debt, it was obvious that Tanzania had not taken any measures to repeal the Act that allowed for imprisonment for debt. Tanzania had tried to minimize it in making imprisonment the last resort, but even so it still contravened the provision of the Covenant.

The Act on NGOs appeared to be overly restrictive on freedom of association and assembly. There was a board of NGOs regulating such associations which raised questions concerning the independence of NGOs. The Minister of Education had threatened to deregister an NGO after it issued a report on primary education, which could amount to threat to freedom of association. Could the delegation confirm if that had indeed happened? Furthermore, was there any government funding for NGOs?

As to child labour, an Expert said that 1.2 million children were working in Tanzania, and some of them were involved in hazardous work, such as in mines. How was that possible in view of the commitment of the Government to eradicate child labour? According the UNICEF, only 19 per cent of children were registered. There was a fee to pay for registration, could that be the reason why parents did not register their children? Also, what was the situation for street children? The phenomenon was rather serious and the Expert asked whether children had been accused of witchcraft.

Relating to minority groups in Tanzania, such as the Hadzabe, an Expert noted that they often depended on their land to preserve their identity. This land could not be taken away from them. The Government had to develop a policy and legislation relating to minorities. What did the Government do, for example, to ensure that enrolment for schools was done for all, including minority groups? In some regions, children had to walk 40 kilometres to get to a school, which defied the whole purpose of education. In the past months, there had been ethnic clashes in two districts; 30 people had been killed and the clashes had caused internal displacement. What was the Government doing to prosecute the perpetrators and what reparation was provided to victims of those conflicts? Had Tanzania ratified the Convention of the International Labour Organization dealing with indigenous peoples? How did the Tanzanian Government envisage dialogue with indigenous peoples? Was it true that the Government had not undertaken any study regarding ethnic minorities? The key word here was prevention. All knew what happened in the Great Lakes region and from time to time there were flare-ups between groups. The Government had to undertake a study to see whether ethnic minorities existed in order to prevent the evil that could be engendered by clashes. Minorities were clearly a form of cultural wealth.

Answers by the Delegation

Responding on these and other questions, Mr. Chikawe said, concerning indigenous persons, that there were 40 million Tanzanians consisting of 126 different tribes. The Masai people were very high people, there were educated and rich as they owned many cattle. Several Prime Ministers had been Masai. There was no such thing as an indigenous group in Tanzania. One group was no more indigenous than the next. Either no one was indigenous in Tanzania or else everyone was.

Tanzania was in the process of learning to implement the Covenant. Tanzania accepted all obligations of the Covenant. However, the implementation would take some time. It was stated that a certain group of people had accepted the killing of Albinos. This was not true, everyone was against those killings and there was no public acceptance for them.

The concept of marital rape was a new concept, not in the Covenant, but for the Tanzanian people. It was true that there was a lot of violence in marriage. The delegation understood the concept, but Tanzanians that were not educated would not understand the concept. That would take some time. The issue of witchcraft was not accepted in Tanzania. It was done in the dark of the night. The Government said that it did not accept it and therefore there was a law against it. The delegation did not know of children involved in witchcraft.

During the discussion, Experts had said that it was difficult to set up NGOs in Tanzania. However, at the moment, there were over 3,000 NGOs in Tanzania. Most of them were not home-grown, but there was no problem with that. Some of the NGOs were banned as they did not do any good and did confuse people. The NGO mentioned by one Expert working in the field of education was still there. It was true that there were not many newspapers in Zanzibar. As many people were illiterate, television and radio channels were much more popular.

Concerning human trafficking, Mr. Chikawe said that there was a new law on the subject. The Government had not collected any data on the subject and there had not yet been any case before the courts. Tanzania would come up with ideas on how to set up a policy on the issue.

As to refugee deportation, Mr. Chikawe said that he was not aware of forcible repatriation to Burundi or the Democratic Republic of Congo, as mentioned by an Expert. There had been repatriation organized by the United Nations Refugee Agency, but that was not forcible repatriation.

Regarding the right to vote, Mr. Chikawe said that that right was in the Constitution. There was a minimal age to become President, but otherwise anyone was eligible. The deposit that had to be made in order to challenge a vote had been addressed by a court. It had decided that if the deposit could not be paid, it could be waived. As to detention for indebtedness, Tanzania was thinking of removing the national legislation allowing it.

On birth registration, Mr. Chikawe confirmed that it was free. A fee had to be paid if the child was not registered after two years. Children were not being registered because of simple ignorance of the parents. The Government had undertaken initiatives to educate parents of the advantages of registration. Child labour was going down, as the Government was against it and also legislating against it. It was mandatory for children to be enrolled in primary schools, and parents that did not enrol their children in school were punishable.

Regarding the ethnic conflict referred to by an Expert, Mr. Chikawe said that the conflict had begun with the theft of livestock. A tribe from Tarime had gone to another tribe and stolen five head of cattle. The other tribe tried to get them back and in that process three people had died and the conflict went on. It was not a minority clash but a case of theft of cattle. Cattle-keeping tribes had a tradition of stealing cattle.

Concerning the Hadzabe issue, the delegation explained that the difference between legal and illegal hunting was important. Tanzania was one of the countries with the richest biodiversity in the world. There was reserved land, village land and general land. The general land was only five per cent of the total. The Hadzabe lived on the village land and mainly lived on hunting and gathering. Other groups had taken on a modern lifestyle through farming. Climate change was also threatening the Hadzabe, and they have much less access to fruit or even animals that they used to hunt. According to the Wildlife Act, licenses for hunting were given out. The wildlife area that was attributed for sport hunting for investors coming to Tanzania was not taken away from any group. A five-year concession was given to Saudi Arabia to protect wildlife for which they had huge projects. Some companies had wanted to use the Hadzabe as a photo opportunity. Thereafter, nothing happened to the Hadzabe and the concession was given up.

Questions by the Committee

In further questions an Expert wanted to know how it was determined which legal system was applicable in disputes. Another Expert asked further questions regarding the investigative scope of the board of NGOs.

Response by the Delegation

As to the various legal system used, the choice was up to the parties. Customary and Islamic law only applied to personal law. For criminal law, one had to go straight to the Government. For personal law as regarded the care for children, for example persons could choose the law that should apply. Both parties had to agree to that. A person had to prove that he had live his life as a good Muslim, in order to make Islamic law applicable. It could not simply be applied if it was advantageous for that person.

The board of NGOs was not there to run NGOs, but it made sure that the NGOs were not simply briefcase NGOs. The board simply guided the NGOs. Perhaps that was also the reason why the board had not yet taken up its work; maybe there was no reason to do so yet.

SOURCE: ReliefWeb

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DATE: 20/07/2009

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