TANZANIA: UN CALLS FOR ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY
September 21, 2009: the UN Human Rights Committee called on the Tanzanian Government to seriously consider abolishing death penalty and ensure that the rights of detainees on death row are not violated.
The UN appeal coincides with a report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Tanzania submitted to the UN body by three local organizations.
The organizations are SAHRINGON, the Tanganyika Law Society and the Legal and Human Rights Centre.
The report said that the government has simply not respected its obligation under article 6(6) of the Covenant and that it has not performed its obligation to observe the concluding recommendations of the Human Rights Committee in respect of its previous report on article 6 of the Covenant.
Last month Constitutional and Justice Minister Mathew Chikawe was quoted as saying that time was not ripe for it to abolish the death penalty owing to the current escalating number of murder cases with intent such as the killings of albinos.
Statistics compiled by the Law Reform Commission of Tanzania (LRCT) indicate that at least 2,478 prisoners were sentenced to death from 1961 to 2007.
It further indicates that out of those convicted 238 were hanged, out of whom 232 were men.
Last year, Legal and Human Rights centre in collaboration with the SAHRINGON and the Tanganyika Law Society filed a petition in the High Court to press the government to abolish death penalty saying it denies oneās right to life.
Death penalty is a mandatory sentence for people who are convicted of murder. However, the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations has noted that legislation dictating the mandatory imposition of the death penalty is prohibited under international human rights law as it violates the right to life. (Sources: Legalbrief Today, Ippmedia.com, 21/09/2009)