A step in the right direction for human rights in Tanzania

01 Oct 2013

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Under international human rights conventions that Tanzania has ratified, state organs are bound to uphold human rights including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

However, implementation of Tanzania’s international human rights obligations remains fragile due to capacity weaknesses in the justice system and delays in incorporating human rights into national laws, among other obstacles. 

Protection of some rights is also threatened by harmful traditional and cultural practices, such as polygamy, bride price, and female genital mutilation which violate women’s and girls’ rights to equality and dignity, as well as their rights to health and to be free from violence.

Enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights is limited owing to the fact that many Tanzanians are affected by poverty, food insecurity and limited access to health and education services. Other challenges include the persistent discrimination faced by people living with HIV/AIDS, persons with disabilities, persons with albinism and the elderly.

In response to a direct request, UNDP is currently supporting the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) to build their capacity to monitor and evaluate the implementation of international human rights standards and recommendations.  A UNDP project  will faciliate CHRAGG’s establishment of effective and sustainable monitoring and evaluation to help ensure that international human rights obligations translate to the daily lives of Tanzanians.

 The project, ‘Support for National Human Rights Priorities in Tanzania,’ has three components 1) human rights promotion and protection, 2) monitoring access to justice and 3) institutional capacity development. In co-operation with Government Ministries, some of the implementation activities will include: training judges and magistrates and other legal professionals on case flow management, training on gender mainstreaming in the course of dispensation of justice, training budget officers on human rights based approach budgeting skills, establishing an M&E data collection system with specialized training for CHRAGG on how to extract, analyse and apply information, training of trainers on human rights based approach and reviewing national laws to ensure adherence to international standards.

The project aims also to build the capacity of CHRAGG to better assist the Government to report on the advancement of international human rights recommendations as well as increase CHRAGG’s ability to influence policy and human rights progress.

 As a result of the initial steps this project has already contributed to the advancement of human rights education within the Ministries and has contributed to the empowerment of CHRAGG to move in the direction of becoming the centre of excellence in human rights. 

 The sensitization of link officers within the Ministries to international human rights norms is ensuring a more practical application of human rights, with particular focus, among others, on the right to freedom of expression, the rights of minorities and people living with HIV, and the right to access to justice. International human rights recommendations are also being used as a tool within UN Tanzania, through UN Delivering as One, to enhance the incorporation of human rights in the design, implementation and reporting cycles of UN activities and annual work plans. 

The practical application of international human rights standards is making advancements and UNDP’s support to CHRAGG intends to strengthen the core system of human rights monitoring in Tanzania and enhance accountability mechanisms to ensure the Government’s commitment and fulfilment.

For further information contact:

Mr Godfrey Mulisa:Practice Specialist

godfrey.mulisa@undp.org