The Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC), a network of more than 130 members, hereby condemns the arrest of its National Coordinator Mr. Onesmo Ole Ngurumwa while Lawfully conducting his advocacy duties.
Mr. Onesmo was arrested by the police today, on the 06th of March,2017 as he was on his way to attend the Launching event of a book titled ‘SAUTI YA WATETEZI WA HAKI VYUONI’, directly translated as: ‘THE VOICE OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN UNIVERSITIES’ ;written by Author Alphonse Lusako, the General Secretary of the Tanzania Students Networking Programme (TSNP). Together with Mr. Ole Ngurumwa, Mr. Baraka John, the Coordinator of the Tanzania Students Networking Programme was also apprehended by the authorities at the same time. Once at the Magomeni Police Station, THRDC Advocate Jones Sendodo inquired about the grounds for the arrest and was told that, he was to wait for details from higher police authorities.
Initially, the launch of the book was to be held at the Hall of the Commission of Science Technology, but the plan was sabotaged despite all contractual agreements.
Recently there have been incidents of arrest, prosecution, loss and threats issued against defenders of human rights in Tanzania. Human rights defenders have been registered to work legally in the country as part of the changes in the society.
It should be noted also that, the freedom of gathering and cooperating is recognized constitutionally in Article 20 (1) that everyone deserves to be free, subject to the laws of the country, meet other people and freely and peacefully collaborate with others. Also Article 18 of the Constitution states that, the right to freedom of expression and opinion is preserved by the constitution.
The immediate release of THRDC National Coordinator Mr. Onesmo Ole Ngurumwa together with the Coordinator of UTSP Mr. Baraka John
State Organs i.e; the Police force should ensure the safety of citizens and stand for human rights protection, as ensuring Safety is their foremost responsibility and not otherwise.
CSOs in Tanzania should be at the forefront to condemn any acts that aim to prevent the constitutional freedom of assembly and other violations against human rights defenders in Tanzania.
Human Rights Defenders in Tanzania should unite and voice our claims against violation of rights to freedom and legitimate advocacy activities.
Issued today on 3/06/2017 by;
Members of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition.