Dar ratifies counter-terrorism protocol

TANZANIA joins other African Union member states to implement the Protocol to the OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, after parliament on Monday unanimously endorsed the resolution for ratification of the protocol.

By endorsing the protocol, Tanzania stands a greater chance to gain several benefits, the Minister for Home Affairs, Eng Hamad Yusuph Masauni said when moving the protocol in the august House.

Some of the benefits include intensifying defence and security of the people and their properties and simplifying the exchange of intelligence information on terrorism through close collaboration from member states, said the minister.

“We will also improve systems for extradition of terrorism suspects as well as intensifying capacity building as well as exchanging skills and training for experts,’’ he said.

Mr Masauni further noted that Tanzania will now be able to use the database centre for terrorism located in Algeria, adding that the new move would help in strengthening socio-economic activities because of the prevailing peace and security.

The OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism was adopted by the 35th OAU Summit in Algiers, Algeria, in July 1999, while the Plan of Action for the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism was adopted by the Intergovernmental High Level meeting of Member States of the African Union, held in Algiers, Algeria, September 2002.

States parties committed themselves to implement fully the provisions of the convention.

They also undertook, among other things, to take all necessary measures to protect the fundamental human rights of their populations against all acts of terrorism and prevent the entry into, and the training of terrorist groups in their territories, identify, detect, confiscate and freeze or seize any funds and any other assets used or allocated for the purpose of committing a terrorist act, and to establish a mechanism to use such funds to compensate victims of terrorist acts or their families.

Also, they agreed to establish national contact points in order to facilitate the timely exchange and sharing of information on terrorist groups and activities at the regional, continental and international levels, including the cooperation of States for suppressing the financing of terrorism.

The protocol also wants members to take appropriate actions against the perpetrators of mercenarism as defined in the OAU Convention for the elimination of mercenarism in Africa, adopted in Libreville, in 1977, and other relevant applicable international instruments as well as strengthening national and regional measures in conformity with relevant continental and international Conventions and Treaties, to prevent the perpetrators of terrorist acts from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

They also agreed to cooperate with the international community in the implementation of continental and international instruments related to weapons of mass destruction.

In Parliament, the minister for Home Affairs told lawmakers that in the recent period there were emerging signs of terrorism acts in the country where as some groups were crossing borders to enter the country.

“For example, in 2010 terrorists suspects of Uganda origin were arrested in Tanzania and extradited to Uganda to face charges of terrorism,’’ he said.

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