CSOs report on Geneva human rights commitments timely

05Apr 2021
The Guardian
CSOs report on Geneva human rights commitments timely

A REPORT prepared by local civil society organizations says that the government has over the past few years shone in fighting graft and slipped in the sphere of democracy and associated human rights issues. Within media circles this wasn’t altogether a new observation as former Foreign Minister-

-Prof. Palamagamba Kabudi had occasion to dwell on those issues in the past few months actually. One point that he raised was that in 2015 and earlier the crucial criticism of the government was corruption, and after this issue was resolved, international observers are picking on other issues, which he saw as flimsy.

That was until quite recently the most authoritative posture on the issue, as Tanzania’s position had adopted a traditional eastern bloc  outlook on prioritizing social and economic rights, and seeing other spheres as basically an assertion as the right to criticize thej government, even by sowing disunity, which the government predictably disavowed. But the report is timely a different way, in that there is a change in tonality and in expectations from public administrators where for instance punitive and even vicious tax collections methods have been scolded and rejected by President Samia Suluhu Hassan. It’s a different set of values as elevating economic interests of the private sector is concomitant with media freedom, etc.

That means repeating this assessment at present is a reminder of what needs to be done so that the laudable record of the government in relation to uplifting the image of the country with zero tolerance of corruption is compensated or balanced by greater regard for other spheres of social and economic rights. For one thing, given the change in tonality at the highest levels of government, it will not be the task of CSOs to see to bring these spheres to being noticed or advanced as part of government work. Those who are in charge in those areas will be in a position to act more favorably, and assertively, on the issues raised; in any case the CSOs refer to commitments made by the government at the UN .Geneva platform.

Making a briefing on the report, the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Executive Director Ana Henga said that the government implemented successfully 89 per cent of recommendations on women’s rights, children as well as economic and community rights. She affirmed that the government has taken significant measures to implement the recommendations as per the United Nations Human Rights Council, highlighting that the report was drawn up by LHCR in collaboration with the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) and Save the Children, a global NGO. It is locally sourced, mostly.

Noticeably, the report writing process is said to date from 2016 after the UPR congress was held in Geneva, so local CSOs established an action plan to make a follow up on recommendations to which the government had committed itself. A colleague of Henga, the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) coordinator, Onesmo Olengurumwa, said the report had been submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 25. About 200 representatives from the CSOs met in Morogoro to set strategies of collecting information on the government's performance. That was the time frame idea. It is set in a new context as top public administrators and civil society seek a way out of what may have seemed an impasse to many, while plenty of social progress was being made.

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