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EU calls out Tanzania on rights violations

by kenya-tribune

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The European Union has expressed concerns over allegations of human-rights violations in Tanzania, citing arbitrary arrests of rights activists, journalists, bloggers and Members of Parliament.

In a statement released last week during 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, the EU said that a free and vibrant civil society and strong and independent media were crucial for a sustainable and effective development and the cornerstone in the fight against corruption.

There have been arrests of opposition supporters since the general election in 2015 with restrictions of assembly imposed on leaders of opposition parties. Several journalists, lawyers and bloggers were restricted with others arrested while on duty.

The EU told Tanzania, which hosts Burundian refugees, that the return of the refugees must be safe, voluntary and dignified and in line with international law including refugee law and the principle of non-refoulement.

Others highlighted for human rights violation of almost the same nature are Venezuela, Nicaragua, Gabon, Cameroon, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Haiti and Turkey.

The Tanzania government has restricted political rallies and live broadcast of parliamentary sessions, while arbitrary arrests of opposition leaders deny them the opportunity to address their voters. Politicians are only allowed to hold rallies within their constituencies but under strict police supervision.

Several MPs from the opposition parties have been arrested for alleged unlawful assembly.

Meanwhile, the Tanzania Constitution Forum (TCF) is now pressing for a fair election and political freedom through constitutional changes.

TCF said a law should be enacted under the electoral commission that will ban elected leaders from defecting from the opposition to see re-election under the ruling party.

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