Tanzania: Amnesty criticises withdrawal of individual, NGO rights

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Amnesty International has criticised the government of Tanzania for withdrawing the right of individuals and NGOs in the country to file cases against it at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The move means people and organisations will no longer be able to file cases against the government at the rights court based in the Tanzanian city of Arusha. Amnesty International criticised the move in a statement on Monday, saying the “withdrawal of rights will rob people and organisations in Tanzania a vital avenue to justice, in a country whose justice system is deeply flawed.”

Amnesty criticises rights withdrawal

“This move effectively blocks individuals and NGOs in the country from directly going to the court to seek redress for human rights violations in what is clearly a cynical attempt to evade accountability,” Amnesty International’s Africa Advocacy Coordinator, Japhet Biegon, said in a statement.

“This is yet more evidence of the government of Tanzania’s growing hostility towards human rights and human rights defenders. It undermines the authority and legitimacy of the African Court and is an outright betrayal of efforts in Africa to establish strong and credible regional human rights bodies that can deliver justice and accountability.”

Tanzania has become the second country to withdraw the rights of individuals and NGOs to directly access the African Court, after Rwanda recently took the first step. Worryingly, the government of Tanzania has the highest number of cases filed by individuals and NGOs as well as judgments issued against it by the African Court.

Out of the 70 decisions issued by the court by September 2019, 28 decisions, or 40 percent, were on Tanzania.

Featured image: “amnesty-international.jpg” flickr photo by Prachatai https://flickr.com/photos/prachatai/42174833074 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

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.