IMMEDIATELY RELEASE THE 13 ARRESTED BY TANZANIAN AUTHORITIES ON 17 OCTOBER 2017
Masithandane End Hate Crimes Collective
21 October 2017, South Africa
#ISLA #CHESA #Freedom #HumanRightsActivists #TanzaniaArrests #Tanzania #freeTanzania13
24 October 2017 UPDATE: Picket Action took place in Pretoria, Tshwane, South Africa, in front of the Tanzania High Commission.
- The Hon. George Mcheche Masaju Attorney General of the United Republic of Tanzania
- The Hon. Bahame T.M. Nyanduga Chairperson, Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance
- United Republic of Tanzania The Hon. Adv. Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
- The Hon. Soyata Maiga Vice- Chairperson, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
- The Hon. Solomon Ayele Dersso Commissioner, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Masithandane Ends Hate Crimes Collective call on Tanzanian authorities to immediately release 13 individuals, including three lawyers and their clients, arbitrarily detained on Tuesday 17 October 2017 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Attendees of a consultation and meeting held by the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) and the Community Health Services and Advocacy (CHESA) were arrested after a raid by Tanzanian police on Tuesday, 17 October 2017. The police had a copy of the concept note and the agenda of the consultation. Up until 20 October 2017, no one was charged and all were granted bail. Yet, on Friday 20 October 2017, the bail was revoked for everyone with no reasons given and they were told a fresh investigation process was starting, everyone was taken into custody.
The Tanzanian Constitution enshrines the right to seek legal redress when fundamental rights have been violated (Art 30(3)), yet, a legal consultation on a case challenging the Tanzanian government’s decision to limit provision of certain health services it has previously provided, was raided. Access to justice is a right for all citizens that must be upheld and respected. We believe these are politically motivated arrests which work to intimidate and thus dissuade citizens from approaching judicial institutions when their rights have been violated.
On Wednesday, 18 October 2017, the Regional Commissioner of Police had issued a press statement referring to the arrests stating 12 people who were “promoting homosexuality”, had been detained. This is a mischaracterization of a legal consultation and such acts erode rights to justice by arbitrarily targeting particular individuals.
The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights, which Tanzania is a signatory to, recognises an individual’s right to an appeal to competent national organs against acts violating their fundamental rights as recognized and guaranteed by conventions, laws and customs in force (Art 7(a)) and applies to all under the law.
The African Charter also outlines that every individual shall be equal before the law (Art 3(1)), including access to justice and legal consultation, these arrests go against the promotion and protection of human rights and basic freedoms for all in the African continent.
There is no legal basis for these proceedings. Therefore, we echo ISLA and CHESA’s statements and call on Tanzanian authorities to: immediately release the 13 individuals who are currently arbitrarily detained; allow citizens access to legal representation without intimidation; discontinue ongoing persecution of human rights defenders, lawyers and their clients and refrain from such actions in the future; allow the foreign nationals, whose passports have been seized, to leave the country.
On Tuesday 24 October 2017, Masithandane Ends Hate Crimes Collective plans to exercise our rights to protest and call for the release of the 13 arrested, by picketing outside of the Tanzanian High Commission at 850 George St, Arcadia, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa between 12h00 and 14h30. We ask all who are able to join us, in solidarity with the 13 people unfairly detained by Tanzanian authorities, and for freedoms and rights to be granted equally to all under the law.
PRESS STATEMENT Issued by CHESA and ISLA
Sibongile Ndashe, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Dar-es-Salaam, 20 October 2016- On Tuesday, 17 October 2017, a legal consultation convened by the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) and Community Health Services and Advocacy (CHESA) was raided by the Tanzanian Police. The consultation was convened in order to get more instructions and evidence on a case that we plan to file before a court. The case concerns a challenge to government’s decision to limit the provision of certain health services that it had previously provided.
Thirteen people were detained and released on bail with no charges made. On Wednesday, the Regional Commissioner of police issued a press statement, referring to the “arrests” and stated that twelve people who were promoting homosexuality had been arrested. This mischaracterisation of a legal consultation where lawyers and their clients were discussing a very specific case to be referred to the court is unfortunate. The police had a copy of the concept note and the agenda of the consultation. Three lawyers were part of the group, that was detained, include ISLA’s executive director, Sibongile Ndashe. The bail was revoked on Friday 20 October 2017 with the view of starting the investigation afresh. All thirteen people are back in custody.
The Tanzanian Constitution enshrines the right to seek legal redress when fundamental rights have been violated (Art 30(3)). The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights, which Tanzania is a signatory to, also recognises an individual’s right to an appeal to competent national organs against acts violating his fundamental rights as recognised and guaranteed by conventions, laws and customs in force (Art 7(a)). Tanzania is a signatory to a number of international human rights treaties that recognizes these and other related rights.
We view this as an attempt to intimidate citizens from approaching judicial institutions when their rights have been violated, to create an environment where lawyers are afraid to provide legal representation and to ultimately create an environment where it is unthinkable to hold the state accountable for human rights violations. There is no legal basis for these proceedings. We call upon Tanzanian authorities to discontinue the ongoing persecution of lawyers and their clients. Allow citizens to access legal representation without intimidation and allow the foreign nationals whose passports have been seized to leave the country.
Issued by CHESA and ISLA, 20 October 2017
CHESA Community Health Education Services and Advocacy
ADD YOUR VOICE!
CALL TO ACTION!
Contact the Tanzanian High Commission near you, and in as many countries as possible, and also contact the Tanzania Attorney General's office to:
- Reiterate that the detention is ILLEGAL! The 13 [lawyers and their clients] were in consultation on how to approach the courts to demand access to adequate health services.
- That the "investigation" that the police say they are doing is for a non-existent offence.
- That we view this as a witch-hunt and abuse of legal process.
#ISLA #CHESA #Freedom #HumanRightsActivists #TanzaniaArrests #Tanzania
TO PROTEST #Tanzania Arrest, #TanzaniaArrests, #freeTanzania13 at the Tanzania High Commission (822 George Avenue, Acadia, Tshwane) 24th October 2017 from 12:00 MEET AT Venning Park, Eastwood St, Arcadia, Pretoria, at 11:00 am Picket to demand the immediate release of unlawful arrest of 13 people detained by the Tanzanian Police. A legal consultation convened by Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) and Community Health Services and Advocacy (CHESA) was raised by the Tanzanian Police. The consultation was convened in order to get instructions and evidence on a case that ISLA planned to file before court, to challenge a decision by the Tanzanian government to limit the provision of certain basic essential health care services. Organised by Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) and partners including Lawyers for Human Rights. Contact Matilda Lasseko (ISLA): 072 740 1764 or Sharon Ekambaram (LHR): 083 634 8924 and e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow us on
- facebook event: Picket Action! Tanzania Arrests, Tanzanian High Commission PTA
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