Dar es Salaam. Human rights advocates yesterday called for protection of human rights in the country and suggested that the existing constitution should be amended to accommodate laws that would ensure that human rights are exercised and guaranteed.
This was said in Dar es Salaam during the 70th commemoration of the declaration of human rights whose climax is on December 10.
An advocate and activist, Dr Rugemeleza Nshala said during the event that it was high time Tanzania sought to protect human rights. “This can be achieved if there are laws which guide the implementation of human rights as provided for by the constitution,” he said.
Dr Nshala spoke with concern about politically-motivated violence, jeopardising people’s right to liberty and personal security as some of the key issues that should be looked at with critical care in the country.
“People now act in fear, knowing that if they say something that certain people in power won’t like, they might end up being harmed. That is to say this is an indication that respect of human rights in Tanzania is not good,’’ he noted.
In attendance during the event, was the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Ludovick Utouh, who pointed out key examples that included increased violence against women and children, kidnapping of journalists such as Mwananchi Communication Ltd’s correspondent Azory Gwanda and a political commentator Ben Saanane who are yet to be found.
Mr Utoh said: “There are laws in the country, but implementation is questionable.” He underscored the need for the country to adopt laws that will help ensure some human rights are guaranteed by the constitution. He said there was a rise in hypocrisy when it comes to commenting about the government and noted that more of what is said to the rulers are praises with minimal criticism.
Veteran journalist Jenerali Ulimwengu said the situation might get worse because the government has not acted decisively on cases of human rights violations, such as the shooting of one of the opposition party leaders and lawmaker Tundu Lissu.
“To date there are no reports of people arrested regarding the shooting, the parliament even hesitated to pay for medical costs of its own member mainly because he was from the opposition,” he said.
On the issues of gender, the director of Msichana Initiative, Ms Rebecca Gyumi, expressed concern that women are under- represented when it comes to leadership opportunities.
“Tanzania is falling in protection of the women and children right,” she said.