United Republic of Tanzania
1. The Committee considered
the third periodic report of the United Republic of Tanzania (CCPR/C/83/Add.2)
at its 1689th and 1690th meetings (CCPR/C/SR.1689 and 1690), held on 24
July 1998, and adopted the following concluding observations at its 1697th
meeting (CCPR/C/SR.1697), held on 30 July 1998.
2. The Committee welcomes
the third periodic report submitted by the Government of the United Republic
of Tanzania and notes that certain further information was provided by
the delegation; it regrets, however, that the report did not fully comply
with the Committee's guidelines and that the delegation addressed only
in part the Committee's list of issues and was not in a position to answer
fully members' oral questions.
B. Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Covenant
3. Since the consideration
of the last periodic report there has occurred an enormous influx of refugees
into Tanzania from neighbouring countries and from Somalia. The volume
has been such that individual assessment has been impossible except in
a few cases; all the rest of these persons have consequently either been
confined to camps where the conditions are primitive and which the State
party has insufficient resources properly to police, or otherwise left
to fend for themselves among the local villagers.
C. Positive factors
4. The restoration of political
pluralism, by means of amending the Constitution, has enabled the whole
population to participate in all aspects of public affairs (art. 25).
5. The courts have demonstrated
a willingness to examine the actions of Government and its agencies for
compliance with the Constitution, as exemplified in the interim injunction
suspending the deregistration of Baraza la Wanawake wa Tanzania (BAWATA),
an important women's organization.
6. Many limitations on freedom
of expression have been eased on the Tanzanian mainland for the press,
radio and television (art. 19).
7. The Committee notes with
approval that a large reduction has been achieved in the employment of
children in the gemstone industry, but makes a recommendation in that
regard (see paragraph 25 below).
8. The Committee commends
the proposal to establish a Constitutional Court to oversee, among other
things, full respect for human rights.
D. Subjects of concern and the Committee's recommendations
9. The Nyalali Commission
reported in 1992. Although its major constitutional proposals have been
implemented there remain in force numerous acts and ordinances which it
recommended for repeal or amendment. The Commission recommended the repeal
of: the Emergency Powers Act 1986 (art. 4); certain aspects of the Human
Resources Deployment Act 1983 which led to forced labour on communal projects
(art. 8); powers of the President to detain persons (incommunicado for
a period) without trial, under the Preventive Detention Act 1962 (art.
9); punishment under the Witchcraft Ordinance 1928 (arts. 7 and 10). The
Commission further recommended that registration of societies under the
Societies Ordinance 1954 be amended to provide for a separate Registrar
and for appeal from his decisions (arts. 18 and 22). The Committee regrets
that none of these proposals has been implemented and expresses the view
that the Commission has accurately identified all these provisions as
infringing human rights which are also protected by the Covenant; its
proposals reinforce a number of the Committee's recommendations made on
the examination of the second periodic report and reflect many of the
Committee's current concerns. The Committee therefore recommends that
priority be given to implementing the proposed reforms.
10. While the Committee is
encouraged to hear that the courts are beginning to refer to the Covenant
in judgements, it recommends that the Covenant be given formal recognition
and applicability in domestic law (art. 2).
11. The Committee appreciates
recent changes in the law so as to criminalize rape between separated
spouses and the practice of female genital mutilation, as well as the
power of a court to hear sexual abuse cases in private; however, it is
concerned that traditional customs inhibit complaints on these matters,
and that marital rape as such is not recognized as a criminal offence.
The Committee recommends that information be promulgated about these remedies
and that the State party take action to support women who are entitled
to take advantage of them (arts. 3 and 26).
12. The Committee is concerned
at the application of personal laws which discriminate against women with
respect, inter alia, to marriage, divorce, land and inheritance.
The Committee is also concerned that customary attitudes discourage women
from pursuing their full educational rights and that, as a result, they
tend to lack the qualifications needed to reach higher levels of achievement
in all aspects of activity, such as the senior judiciary, and are under-represented
in political spheres. The Committee recommends that the State party put
an end to these discriminatory laws and practices; that action be taken
to increase the number of girls' schools; that persuasion be exerted on
society to insist on girls' attendance at school; and that support be
given to young women who wish to pursue higher education (arts. 3, 25
13. The Committee is concerned
(a) The Law of Marriage Act
discriminates against women with regard to the minimum age for marriage;
(b) Section 138 (6) of the
Penal Code allows any person of African or Asiatic descent to marry, or
permit the marriage of a girl under the age of 12, provided that there
is no intention to consummate the marriage until she attains that age.
It recommends that these discriminatory features be eliminated from the
law (arts. 3 and 26).
14. The Committee urges the
State party to publish details on sentences to the death penalty, on the
mainland and in Zanzibar; such sentences have not been carried out recently
in either part of the Union, and the Committee recommends that this penalty
be abolished (art. 6).
15. The Committee deplores
the law in force in Zanzibar which allows for the imprisonment of both
mother and father in the event of an unmarried woman becoming pregnant.
In the Committee's view, this carries risks to the right to life (art.
6) (through resort to illegal abortion) and to the rights of the child
(arts. 23 and 24) if born in such circumstances. It recommends the abolition
of this law in Zanzibar and, noting in this connection that illegal abortion
is a major cause of maternal mortality, that a national review be carried
out on the restrictions on abortions (arts. 3, 6 and 26).
16. The Committee notes with
approval the Nyalali Commission's recommendation to abolish corporal punishment
as a judicial sentence; such penalty should also be precluded for offences
against prison regulations and children should no longer be subjected
to corporal punishment in schools (art. 7).
17. Despite the problems concerning
the volumes of refugees entering and remaining in the country, the Committee
urges that no refugee be returned to another State unless it is certain
that, once there, he or she shall not be executed or subjected to torture
or other form of inhuman treatment (arts. 6, 7 and 13).
18. The Committee regrets
the absence of training for the police in human rights and in the proper
use of riot equipment, such as "rubber bullets". It takes note of actions
by the police resulting in homicide, and is generally concerned that investigation
of complaints against the police is carried out by the police themselves.
It recommends that thorough training for the police be provided and that
an independent mechanism be set up for investigating complaints (arts.
7 and 9).
19. The Committee is concerned
about reports of armed groups ("sungu-sungu") which act as vigilantes
and may commit abuses of human rights. It notes with approval the Nyalali
Commission's recommendation that no militia be allowed to operate without
specific legislative approval and recommends that, in any event, any such
militia be properly trained and that their activities be subject to full
supervision by the courts (arts. 7 and 9).
20. The Committee notes that
it is accepted that prison conditions have deteriorated; there is reported
overcrowding, rape and other sexual abuse of female prisoners, and a failure
to comply with minimum standards. It recommends that resources be made
available to remedy this situation and that training in human rights be
given to prison officers, a sufficient number of female officers be recruited
to ensure that only such officers are in charge of female prisoners. It
also urges that alternatives to a sentence of imprisonment be made more
widely available to the courts and that the judiciary be encouraged to
use these alternatives, in appropriate cases, when passing sentence (art.
21. The Committee urges the
abolition of imprisonment for inability to pay a debt and that a study
be carried out of alternative means of enforcing judgement debts, such
as are currently in operation in other countries (art. 11).
22. The Committee regrets
that the large number of election petitions currently before the High
Court has so clogged the system that other proceedings, including trials
for homicide, have been inordinately delayed. It is concerned that some
two and a half years after an election, adjudication on the right of a
person to sit in Parliament is still awaited. It is also concerned that
case conferences (to expedite proceedings) convened by the courts themselves
have offered no solution. The Committee recommends that suitable measures
be adopted to extinguish the backlog of pending cases, and that a more
expeditious procedure be adopted to determine electoral disputes (arts.
14 and 25).
23. The Committee calls on
the State party to protect the freedom of an adult individual's sexual
conduct and to bring its laws into conformity with article 17 of the Covenant.
24. The Committee notes with
concern the high level of domestic violence. It recommends that specific
revisions be introduced in legislation to provide civil and criminal remedies
for such actions against the person responsible (art. 23).
25. The Committee remains
concerned about the employment of children in industrial and agricultural
activities. It urges the State party to take further steps to counter
this continuing violation of children's rights (art. 24).
26. The Committee recommends
the establishment of an independent body to oversee respect for and to
disseminate knowledge of human rights, whether by an expansion of the
powers of the existing Permanent Mission of Enquiry or by the creation
of another mechanism.
27. There remain unanswered
several concerns of the Committee, which were noted by the delegation,
and it is anticipated that full, up-to-date answers will be provided in
the fourth periodic report.
28. The Committee recommends
that the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania submit its fourth
periodic report by June 2002. It requests the Government to ensure the
widespread dissemination of these concluding observations throughout the
population, in Swahili as well as other languages. It further recommends
that publicity be given to the right of individuals to make use of the
Optional Protocol and the means of so doing.