Several members call on advocacy action to the government of Tanzania to stop threatening rights groups
Eighteen national and international non-governmental organizations, including ESCR- Net Members, Amnesty International, Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), Child Rights Information Network (CRIN), Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), and Right to Education Initiative (RTE), have signed a statement claiming that the government of Tanzania should end its hostile rhetoric toward civil society groups and threats to obstruct their work. The comments have targeted groups helping pregnant girls finish their education and those working to protect the rights of LGBT people.
The recent statements by Magufuli and Nchemba, government officials in Tanzania, contradict longstanding efforts by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and civil society organizations to develop re-entry guidelines to ensure that girls can go back to school after pregnancy. The ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (‘Party of the Revolution’), in its 2015 election manifesto made a commitment to ensure girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy can continue their studies.
The government’s statements contravene Tanzania’s international and regional human rights obligations. These include the obligation to ensure that all children can attend primary and secondary education free from discrimination, as well as an obligation to take all appropriate measures to ensure children who become pregnant have an opportunity to continue their education. The right to campaign for equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, is also protected. International law and the Tanzanian constitution guarantee the rights to freedom of expression and association.
The statement concludes that the government should immediately stop threatening the work of non-governmental organizations, with the belief that all civil society groups should be allowed to operate without fear of reprisals for their research, advocacy, programming, and essential services.
The statement is available here.