7 February 2013

Tanzania: MPs Want Diplomats to Respect Local Laws

Dodoma — MEMBERS of Parliament yesterday cautioned the government against immunity for internationally protected persons and diplomats and advised that domestic laws must be respected.

The MPs were debating the government's motion asking the House to ratify the Convention on the Protection and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons and Diplomatic Agents, 1973.

Special Seats MP (CCM), and Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee for Constitution, Justice and Administration Ms Pindi Chana told Parliament that it is imperative that all those who enjoy diplomatic immunity respect the laws of the land and her people.

"We are aware of the fact that locals are being mistreated in various missions and we want to be treated with respect and humanity," she said. The same sentiments were shared by Mr Felix Mkosamali (Muhambwe- NCCR-Mageuzi), who said that diplomatic immunity mostly aims at serving interests of rich countries and not Africans.

"International law almost always adversely affects African countries, the government should tell us how it is going to deal with people enjoying immunity," he said. The MPs also expressed their reservations about Article 13 of the convention concerning disputes between states being arbitrated by the International Court of Justice.

However, the session's Chairperson, Mussa Azzan (Ilala-CCM), clarified that the state signed the convention with reservations on the same article. Earlier, the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Pereira Silima, tabled the motion in Parliament saying that it aims at protecting people with immunity against criminal acts that will threaten their security.

He said that since Tanzania is a host to many diplomatic missions it accepts many different internationally protected persons and the government has the obligation to ensure their security.

Similarly, he said, Tanzania sends its envoys outside the country that should also receive the same treatment and enjoy diplomatic immunity. The minister also tabled a motion asking parliament to ratify the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear which was also challenged by MPs.

In the motion that was tabled on the minister's behalf by Deputy Minister Mr Pereira Silima, he said that Tanzania is among countries which have discovered uranium thus making it susceptible to terrorist attacks. "The discovery of uranium has its benefits because it will help in the nation's economic growth, but it also makes the country a target for terrorists," he said.

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