Tag Archives: rights

Learning from the Tbilisi OGP Summit: Hope and ideas in an age of closing civic space

In the opening plenary session of the latest Open Government Partnership summit, one panellist offered his definition of open government: government of the people, by the people and for the people. That probably sounds familiar – the phrase is borrowed from a popular definition of democracy, most famously deployed by Abraham Lincoln.

Does this mean the definition of open government is essentially the same as the definition of democracy? In many ways it felt that way at the 5th OGP Summit last week in Tbilisi, Georgia. Continue reading

Yesterday was Access to Information Day 2017. Meanwhile, in Tanzania …

Mwananchi, 29/9/17

As we marked Access to Information Day, 2017 …

… the communications regulator – TCRA – held a consultation on proposed new online content regulations. Among other things, the regulations would require all bloggers and online forums to register with TCRA, to identify any readers or users who post comments or other content, and to pre-moderate all user-submitted content. The implications for blogs and other platforms for public debate and whistle-blowing, including the hugely popular Jamii Forums, would be devastating. Continue reading

Witchcraft in Tanzanian law

The Citizen, 24/8/14

The Citizen, 24/8/14

Witchcraft is a huge issue in Tanzania at the moment. Levels of belief are extremely high, with horrific consequences for two groups in particular: older women (and others) who are accused of being witches and in many cases murdered as a result, and people with albinism who are attacked or murdered for their body parts, which are said to possess supernatural powers. With a general election coming up next year, there are fears that the situation for people with albinism could get even worse. And though it is less obvious, the manipulative actions of people calling themselves witchdoctors – tricking people out of their money through big promises and/or blackmail and fear (as alleged in this case) – are also highly damaging.

I will explore this issue in more depth at a later date, but for the moment, I just want to bring one thing to wider attention: did you know that Tanzania has a Witchcraft Act on the statute books?

It dates from colonial times, 1928 in fact, but was amended as recently as 2009.

I will come to what the law says in a moment, but first, how exactly does it define witchcraft?
Continue reading

Chart of the week #9: Killings due to witchcraft beliefs in Tanzania

How many people are killed each year in Tanzania due to witchcraft beliefs?

Source: Tanzania Human Rights Reports, 2010-2013

Source: Tanzania Human Rights Reports, 2010-2013

This chart is based on data from police reports and compiled in the annual Tanzania Human Rights Reports, published by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC). The latest report, covering 2013, was published a couple of weeks ago. Continue reading