Kongresi ya Marekani Yamuonya Jiwe
Yamtaka Kuheshimu Haki za Kiraia na Kidemokrasia
Congress of the united States
December 20, 2019
The Honorable Dr. John Magufuli
President of the United Republic of Tanzania
Dar es Salaam
United Republic of Tanzania
Dear President Magufuli,
We write to urge you and those in your administration to fully respect political and civil rights guaranteed under the Tanzanian constitution, especially in the lead up to the 2020 elections. We have watched with increasing concern as the political space in Tanzania has narrowed in recent years and urge you to do your part to prevent further deterioration.
In advance of the 2015 elections, Tanzania's progress in the areas of democracy and respect for civil liberties and human rights was impressive. However, since then, there have been troubling signs that this progress has reversed.
There are concerning reports that your administration uses violence to intimidate political opposition, the media, civil society, and employees of international companies —actions that have raised alarm in the international community.
Opposition members of Parliament have been harassed, arrested and killed for expressing dissent, in attacks that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report are politicallymotivated. The shooting of opposition leader Tundu Lissu in 2017 is just one of many disturbing examples of government critics being targeted with violence.
Your administration has also repeatedly implemented policies that discriminate on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, including a ban on pregnant girls and young mothers in schools, and suspending U .S. funding for HIV/AIDS programs that provide care to men who have sex with men.
Tanzania's score has continuously fallen on Freedom House's civil liberties rating over the past several years, receiving a score ofjust 25/60 for 2019 in a report that points out restrictive online media laws that undercut media independence, and instances in which the government has fined, sanctioned, or suspended newspapers for critical coverage.
Each of these actions violate rights enshrined in the Tanzanian constitution and infringe upon internationally recognized civil liberties and human rights norms and standards outlined in the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, of which Tanzania is a founding member.
Mr. President, we urge you take strong action to reverse the current trend towards a closed and repressive political space in Tanzania, and recommit to respect political rights and civil liberties.
Specifically, we ask that you make a public pledge to personally guarantee the safety and security of all members of the political opposition in the run up to next year's elections. These protections should also apply to civil society, journalists, and the private sector.
Ongoing failure to address democratic backsliding has and will continue to have a tremendous negative impact on Tanzania's international reputation.
However, genuine progress towards political opening will pave the way for closer ties between the United States and Tanzania for years to come, strengthening continued economic groMh and development cooperation. We urge you to showleadership on these critically important issues.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Eliot L. Engel
House Foreign Affairs Committee