10 December 2018

Tanzania: LHRC Commends Shule for Stand Against Gender-Based Violence At UDSM

Dar es Salaam — The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) executive director Anna Henga has commended the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) lecturer, Dr Vicensia Shule, for speaking out on the issue of sexual harassment against female students.

Ms Henga's comment was made on Monday, December 10, as the centre released an annual report on human rights in the country that shows an increase in child abuse.

Dr Shule was recently summoned by the university's ethics committee for tweeting about wanting to meet with President John Magufuli on the day the President launched the UDSM library.

"I applaud Dr Shule for fighting against sexual harassment at UDSM. We can talk of human rights activists like Rosa Park, but she is an American, Dr Shule is our fellow Tanzanian," she explained.

Speaking of citizens' rights, Mr Raymond Kanegene, an LHRC lawyer, said there have been nine suppressive laws that have been passed including the social media crimes laws, Sumatra guidelines that limit political discussion on public transport, Statistics law, Access to Information law and the current changes in the Political Parties laws.

"The Access to Information law allows a citizen to access information, but officials are restricted from giving out information. The Act has 22 sections but the changes have brought 32 sections, does the constitution and the human rights declaration fall within the act?" asked Kanegene.

The LHRC report states that child abuse has increased in a period of two years from 4,788 in 2017 to 6,376 in 2018.

Mr Paul Mikongoti, another LHRC lawyer, said rape and sexual offenses have increased to 2,365 this year from 759 reported the previous year.

"This is a huge level of crimes and violence against children. Before it was only against female children but even male children are now targeted. An estimated 394 children are raped every month, the survey shows the situation is worse in Moshi, Kilimanjaro, and Kinondoni in Dar es Salaam," said Mr Mikongoti.

On political and citizen rights, Mr Mikongoti said a total of 501 people had died due to mob justice in a period of six months giving an example of yesterday's case where members of the public reacted violently after a motorcyclist was hit by a bus.

Furthermore, he said, despite the President not signing a death sentence, the death penalty act had not been changed leaving 400 prisoners uncertain of their fate. He added that the Police Force was also responsible of taking action without following the law but at the same time were responsible of investigating such cases.

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