8 Eye-Opening Facts About Human Rights In Tanzania

Tanzania is a well-known country in Africa with a slowly progressing economy that’s the result of gold production and tourism. Although the nation is working towards a reputable economy, Tanzania still remains one of the most impoverished countries in Africa. Human rights are an important factor to consider for improvement, and the people of Tanzania are looking for a positive change of laws and regulations to assist with poverty evolution. The critical facts about human rights in Tanzania are as followed.

10 Facts About Human Rights In Tanzania

  1. In Tanzania, the current legal marriage age is 18 for both boys and girls. The original law in 1971 granted marriage for boys at 18 and girls at 14 years old. As of July 2016, this law was revoked, and the constitutional court ruled all marriage would be illegal to everyone under the age of 18. According to the UNICEF, Tanzania has one of the highest child marriage rates, leaving 31 percent of children married by 18 years old.
  2. Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right of freedom and expression.” Although this law essentially means freedom of speech, the Tanzanian government uses the law to limit freedom of expression if one’s freedom conflicts with other human rights. An example would be the protection of the rights or reputations of others. Although freedom of speech and freedom of media can go hand-in-hand, the constitution of Tanzania does not specifically approve of freedom of the press. There are current laws in place that allow authorities broad permission to limit and control media. This is due to the media’s role in politics — withholding advertisement contracts from censorious sources.
  3. Female and male rights for the citizens of Tanzania haven’t always been equal, and that trend continues to today. Until 2014, a woman’s right to land ownership was denied even though Tanzania’s Land Act and Village Land Act, passed in 1999, provided women rights to the ownership of land. Due to traditional practices, people still left land control in the hands of men, but the current law is working to uphold equal rights.
  4. In 2016, the Tanzanian government terminated all tuition fees for primary and secondary schools. This change helped boost the secondary school enrollment but has been a hurdle for poor children that don’t live near schools or cannot afford school supplies and costs.
  5. Many girls in Tanzania under the age of 18 face discrimination in school. If a student is pregnant or married, school officials can expel the girls from school without question. As of May 2018, a new law allows for girls to return to school post-pregnancy.
  6. Women’s rights to land help in the efforts to tackle poverty issues in Tanzania. Women and children often deal with generational poverty, malnutrition and women’s economic empowerment. The improvement of these issues begins with increasing the rights of women to own land.
  7. For many women in Tanzania, it is becoming the norm for wills to be written to children and next of kin for land. Women don’t want their offspring to suffer from poverty, so being in the position to pass down ownership is a means for ending the cycle of poverty.
  8. In 2017, the president of Tanzania, President Magufuli provided for 240,000 refugees that came in from Burundi, Africa in April of 2015. As of 2018, President Magufuli ordered that the Burundian refugees’ registration of naturalization be suspended. This left the refugees to either live in poverty or return to Burundi.

Development Opportunities

The updated human rights in Tanzania have made a positive impact on the country and its citizens. There is more work to be done, but with limited control and freedom of speech and activism, the government will continue to call the shots and the world hopes those decisions will be beneficial to the nation’s people.

– Kayla Sellers
Photo: Flickr