IRISH Ambassador to Tanzania Paul Sherlock says his country is committed to supporting Tanzanian institutions to respond to Gender-based Violence (GBV) and violence against women and children, to ensure that victims get full protection of the law.
He also says that there is a need to strengthen reporting, investigation and prosecution mechanisms through building capacity of key criminal justice institutions in managing GBV cases and strengthening coordination across the criminal justice system.
He made the remarks over the weekend during the National Dialogue on Strengthening Criminal Justice Systems the meeting that was organised by Women in Law and Development Africa (WiLDAF) attended by CSOs members and government officials.
He said due to a couple of reasons, GBV cases were often unreported or underreported, undermining the health, dignity and security of survivors, adding that the proportion of cases that make it to court were very low.
He said there were an immense number of challenges in protecting victims and ensuring effective access to justice. "In my country, Ireland, we grappled with the very same issues.
A 2014 study found that 79 per cent of women never report a serious physical or sexual assault by a male partner to anyone and many women were returning to homes where violence had occurred; and was likely to reoccur," he said.
He further explained that allegations of abuse were not being fully investigated and the legal system was failing some of the most vulnerable in our society, adding that such alarming statistics and the very strong advocacy by civil society organizations, led to a series of developments in policy, strategy and legislation.
"Here in Tanzania, the embassy is working to support issues of gender inequality and to address gender-based violence across our work and that includes a commitment to strengthen capacity of the Tanzanian criminal justice system to respond to GBV," he said.
He called upon Tanzanians to take action to ensure that victims of rape and sexual violence wherever this crime may occur are given the full protection of the law, adding that Ireland was ready to support CSOs and the government in these endeavours.
On his part, the Commissioner for the Human Rights Committee , Nyanda Shuli, said that what was witnessed was more crimes being brought to justice and the result had been an increase in the number of prison for the serious offences.
He said this change was happening because the society was changing and they had gained some understanding of the seriousness of these crimes and more victims were having the confidence to come forward and put their cases.
"We should be proud that we live in a society that no longer shames victims of rape; that is prepared to confront child sex abuse and has brought domestic violence out in the open but there is more we can do," he said