Rights groups call on Tanzania to drop pregnant student ban


Human rights groups are rallying to pile pressure upon Tanzania’s government to drop a ban against pregnant schoolgirls and teenage mothers from attending school.

Earlier this week, Tanzanian rights group, the Legal and Human Rights Centre, and international organisation, the Center for Reproductive Rights, launched a joint complaint against the ban to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The committee has the mandate to determine whether the ban in violating Tanzania’s obligations under the African children’s rights charter and instruct the government to implement changes.

Rights groups rally against pregnant schoolgirl ban

Tanzania President John Magufuli imposed the ban in 2017, prompting a backlash from rights groups both inside and outside of the country. In November 2018, the World Bank withheld a $300 million loan to the country – which would have been dedicated to secondary education – because of human rights concerns, including discrimination against young girls.

The government has since pledged to find ways that pregnant girls and young mothers can return to education but rights groups insist it hasn’t fulfilled these commitments.

International rights groups have also condemned the ban, calling upon the government to remove the discriminatory ban.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the country to instead focus on “the many factors that contribute to teenage pregnancies in Tanzania, including child marriage, lack of information about sexuality and reproduction, and sexual violence and exploitation, including by teachers and school officials.”

Featured image: By I, Inisheer, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2440546

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.