U.S. Statement at the UPR of Tanzania

Tanzania Universal Periodic Review Report 

Delegation of the United States of America

— As drafted —

Human Rights Council 33rd Session
Geneva,
September 22, 2016

The United States acknowledges the Tanzania delegation to the UPR Adoption session.

We welcome the Government’s decision to accept recommendations to fully investigate abuses against persons with albinism and ensure that those responsible for crimes are prosecuted.  We note that violence against persons with albinism continues, although some efforts have been taken to improve respect for albinos’ rights.  We urge the Government to intensify its efforts to safeguard the rights of these persons and to protect and serve all of its people and populations equally without bias or discrimination.

While we note that the Government formally accepted our recommendation to respect and guarantee the universal right of its citizens in Zanzibar to elect their government through genuinely free and fair elections, we are deeply concerned that respect for human rights and the protection of democracy for all citizens is declining in Tanzania. The Government annulled the Zanzibar election conducted in October 2015 and then held a rerun that was neither inclusive nor representative.  Since the elections, the Government has continued to restrict and limit the space for opposition voices, including a ban on live television coverage of Parliament, closures of several independent media outlets, raids on health service providers, suspensions of several opposition members of Parliament, and an indefinite ban on political rallies and activities including private meetings.

We also note that the Government was still considering our recommendation to ensure that the legal framework and enforcement of laws, including the Cybercrimes Act and other laws affecting members of the media, are fully consistent with the human rights and fundamental freedoms in Tanzania’s Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  However, we remain deeply concerned that authorities continue to use the Cybercrimes Act of 2015 to arrest individuals for activities protected by the right to freedom of expression.

We urge the Government to cease its rapid back-sliding on human rights and democracy issues and urge progress on implementing the UPR Working Group recommendations over the course of the next four years.

Thank you.