Human rights activists condemn abuse on leaders

TANZANIA:THE Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) has strongly condemned the use of abusive language when criticising government leaders, advocating instead for constructive criticism.

During the launch of the 2023 Situation Report on Human Rights Defenders and Civic Space in Tanzania over the weekend, Mr Onesmo Olengurumwa, the Coalition’s National Coordinator, highlighted the importance of constructive criticism in prompting leaders to address concerns.

Mr Olengurumwa expressed dismay over the attitude of some individuals who resort to abusive criticism of top government leaders on social media platforms.

He emphasised that while social media networks are beneficial socially and economically, they should be used responsibly to educate and criticise in a manner that respects individuals’ dignity and rights.

“These networks are very beneficial not only socially but also economically, they should be used to educate, criticise in a good language that does not infringe a person’s dignity and rights,” he said.

He emphasised the importance of understanding the limits of human rights, urging everyone to be mindful of these boundaries to avoid causing harm to others.

Using polite language is crucial, he noted, as it facilitates constructive dialogue and encourages positive responses from those being criticised.

“I appeal to all users of social networks to employ them wisely. When used appropriately, we can collectively work towards transforming our country and condemning all forms of human rights violations,” he added.

Mr Olengurumwa affirmed the need for citizens and human rights defenders to have the freedom to express themselves.

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He called for unity among citizens, regardless of ideological or religious differences, emphasising national participation in all matters.

In 2023, he acknowledged the government’s commitment to collaborating with civil organisations to promote human rights in Tanzania.

Mr Olengurumwa urged the government to establish an independent oversight board to ensure justice for victims of human rights violations.

“Without stringent measures against violators, we risk perpetuating these injustices. A robust, independent oversight mechanism is essential for justice, protection and the advancement of human rights in Tanzania,” he stressed.

He highlighted that victims often include activists and social media critics, emphasising the need for a comprehensive approach to prevent abductions, particularly targeting vulnerable groups such as journalists and human rights defenders.

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