President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s government has officially resolved to work in close cooperation with human rights activists-cum-defenders to facilitate human rights advocacy in the country.
To that very noble end, the Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs met with the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders’ Coalition (THRDC) in Dodoma on June 3.
This coming so soon after President Hassan was sworn into office as the country’s first-ever female head of state only on March 19 this year is as historical as it is historic.
Time was not too long ago when the government regarded civil society organisations (CSOs) as enemies of the rulers of the day, imposing severe restrictions on activities by the former with the express intention of emasculating them.
Contrary to this somewhat archaic belief, human rights defenders and other CSOs are generally considered pivotal to all-inclusive, meaningful and sustainable socioeconomic development on the ground.
It, therefore, comes as a major relief that the President Hassan government is more than willing, able and ready to dialogue with the private sector at large, and CSOs in particular, on how best to sort out legal-cum-practical hurdles in bona fide pursuit of basic human rights and freedoms.
To a certain extent, this calls for revisiting some policies and regulatory frameworks, including especially those on Basic Rights and Duties Enforcement, as well as the Economic and Organised Crimes Control laws.
The government has publicly admitted “responsibility to respect and adhere to human rights systems for individuals, groups and communities as a whole”.
In that regard, it will design strategies to promote, protect and implement human rights as its “shared responsibilities”.
How comforting, we say, to have and hear the government so heartily pronounce on its willingness and readiness to spearhead the pursuit for human rights and freedoms.