Tanzania assures UN forum of fair treatment of all citizens

UNITED STATE: Tanzania has assured the 23rd session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) that it treats all its citizens fairly and equally.

The country’s message was delivered by the UNESCO National Commission Executive Secretary, Professor Hamisi Malebo, at the ongoing UNPFII, which started on April 15th and will conclude on Friday in the US.

Prof Malebo told the forum that Tanzania is a country that adheres to legal principles in its governance systems.

“It’s unfortunate that sometimes the forum is given misinformation about indigenous people in Tanzania,” Prof. Malebo stated.

His remarks came following a statement from one of the representatives of the organization dealing with indigenous people who claimed that Tanzania threatens and mistreats indigenous persons.

Prof Malebo dismissed the claim as baseless and misleading since the country has never done so to its citizens.

He told the participants to be satisfied with the information provided.

The Commission’s Executive Secretary further said that Tanzania has been an active participant in the forum.

“Even in previous meetings, Tanzanian delegates were participating and discussing various issues openly with the intent to strengthen the implementation of various matters in line with human rights.

“According to Tanzania’s constitution, our country has no special group of indigenous people with exclusive rights. And, we don’t have lands belonging to ancestors,” he clarified.

He stressed that the Tanzanian government does not accept threats and mistreatment to its citizens or other human rights defenders who operate in accordance with the rule of law.

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Article 18 of the country’s Constitution provides for freedom of speech, noting that no citizen faces threats when exercising this right while observing the law.

He insisted that the six-phase government under President Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan has been continuing to strengthen the protection of human rights for its citizens, including freedom of speech, freedom of association, and political gathering.

Tanzania has also ratified international and regional conventions on human rights and upholds principles of the rule of law.

In the forum, other Tanzanian delegates include Ms. Zuleikha Tambwe, a senior officer for Foreign Affairs from the Permanent Mission of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations.

In the same forum last year, Tanzania also insisted that no community deserves to hold exclusive rights to claim ownership of certain areas of the land.

A Tanzanian delegation told the 22nd session of the UNPFII that ended in New York that Tanzania didn’t have a specific indigenous community and that any Tanzanian was free to inhabit any part of the country.

Delivering the country’s stance on behalf of Prof. Malebo, Ms. Tambwe insisted that the country was home to more than 120 tribes that have been scattered in different parts of the country.

“All the inhabitants consist of communities that migrated from groups of Cushites and Khoisan, with the Bantu being the first people to have entered Tanzania more than 3,000 years ago,” she said.

According to Ms. Tambwe, the Nilotic communities, which also comprise the Maasai, would later stream into the country in the 18th century.

Her assertion comes in the wake of a group of people claiming to hail from the Maasai communities who have since claimed exclusive rights to the Loliondo and Ngorongoro area, thus compromising the ongoing relocation exercise from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA).

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