Continental body urges TZ to ratify human rights instruments

THE African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (the Commission) has urged Tanzania to give formal consent to some Human Rights instruments that the country had not ratified.

Such instruments include the African Union (AU) convention on conservation of nature and natural resources and the protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the rights of Older Persons.

Briefing reporters on the conclusion of its Promotion Mission to Tanzania here over the  weekend, the Chairperson of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities and Minorities in Africa, Litha Musymi-Ogana also urged the country to consider reinstating the declaration under article 34 B of the protocol to the Charter on the establishment of the African Court on Human People’s Rights, which permits individuals and NGOs to access the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) which was withdrawn in 2019.

“Much as we commend the various legislative institutional policy regulatory, budgetary measures that Tanzania has put in place to enhance the promotion and protection of those rights and people’s rights in the nation, it is high time the country domesticates and observes the provision of the Charter,” recommended Dr Ogana, who also featured in the Commission’s week-long Promotion Mission, which also saw them traverse both, Ngorongoro and Handeni districts in a fact-finding mission.

Article 34(6) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights requires that State Parties to the Protocol make a separate declaration in order to allow direct access to individuals and non- governmental organisations to bring cases against them before the African Human Rights Court.

Tanzania, which deposited its declaration on March 29, 2010, announced its withdrawal of the declaration on November 14, 2019.

Speaking in Arusha last year, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Ambassador Mbarouk Nassor Mbarouk cited a number of reasons that led to Tanzania’s withdrawal, chiefly being the sovereignty of the country.

“The decision was arrived at following thorough consultations and discussions for the good of the country’s sovereignty and not politically motivated,” he clarified.

Ambassador Mbarouk however, reiterated Tanzania’s commitment to the continental court in upholding human rights principles.

Meanwhile, on the positive note the Commission commended Tanzanian government for inviting it to undertake the Human Rights promotion mission.

“We are very grateful to government for placing, at the disposal of the commission resources to enable the delegation of the African Commission on Human Rights and People’s Rights, to carry out its mission in Tanzania,” Dr Ogona said.

She equally welcomed the country’s efforts to protect the rights to life, dignity and security of the local pastoral communities impacted by the increasing cases of Human Wildlife Conflicts (HWCs) in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) and Loliondo Division.

On People’s equality, Dr Ogana said the Commission lauded Tanzania’s efforts to eradicate tribalism and to ensure the equal respect of all its peoples.

During its mission in the country, AfCHPR delegation met senior officials from the Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Foreign Affairs and EAC Cooperation and also listened to over 40 life testimonies.

According to Dr Ogana delegation will prepare a report of the mission which will be tabled before the commission for consideration and adoption at one of its upcoming sessions and be later be forwarded to the Tanzanian government.

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