Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2017, 12:01 GMT

Amnesty International Report 2008 - Tanzania

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 28 May 2008
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2008 - Tanzania, 28 May 2008, available at: [accessed 23 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


Head of state:: Jakaya Kikwete
Head of government:: Edward Lowassa
Head of Zanzibar government:: Amani Abeid Karume
Death penalty:: abolitionist in practice
Population :: 39.7 million
Life expectancy:: 51
Under-5 mortality (m/f):: 169/153 per mille
Adult literacy:: 69.4 per cent

High levels of violence against women persisted. Thousands of refugees and migrants from neighbouring countries were forcibly returned to their countries. Prison conditions remained harsh. Talks on legal and electoral reform in semi-autonomous Zanzibar between the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), and the opposition Civic United Front (CUF), which were due to end in August, continued.

Violence against women

Violence against women, including domestic violence, remained widespread. Female genital mutilation continued to be illegally practised, especially in rural areas. Reports indicated that in parts of the country, between 18 and 100 per cent of girls were subjected to female genital mutilation. No prosecutions were reported.

Migrants' rights

The government continued the forcible return of refugees from Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo that began in May 2006. In early 2007 thousands of individuals deemed to be "illegal immigrants" were forcibly returned to these countries. Many of those returned had been registered as refugees or were in the process of seeking refugee status and some had lived in Tanzania for 15 years or more. Many complained of harassment, beatings and looting of property by the law enforcement officials carrying out the process of repatriation.

Prison conditions

Prison conditions remained harsh, with new reports of severe overcrowding in most prisons. In March and September, pre-trial detainees in prisons in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Dodoma protested against delays in their court hearings and against harsh prison conditions.


The authorities failed to investigate allegations of human rights violations, including unlawful killings by the police.

  • On 5 September, police in Moshi shot at close range and killed 14 people. Police alleged that the 14 were armed and were preparing to raid a bank. By the end of 2007 there had been no investigations by the authorities into these killings.

Freedom of expression

In February the government published a draft Media Services Bill 2007 to regulate the media. It proposed setting up a registration mechanism for both individual journalists and media outlets, and a statutory Media Standards Board responsible for regulating the print media. The bill was criticized on the grounds that it imposed restrictions on the work of journalists, allowed for political interference in the broadcast media, and required every publisher and broadcaster to deposit a cash bond. Critics argued that the system was open to abuse and could be used to suppress criticism in the media. By the end of 2007 the bill had not been passed by parliament.

Death penalty

All death sentences in mainland Tanzania were commuted to life imprisonment in 2006. However, the death penalty remained part of the penal law and there were no efforts by the government to abolish it during the year.

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