East African Law Society condemns Tanzania evictions

The East African Law Society (EALS) has described as “human rights violation” the eviction from Tanzania of Rwandans and perceived Rwandan nationals.
Some of the Rwandan returnees at the Tanzania-Rwanda border await clearance. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira
Some of the Rwandan returnees at the Tanzania-Rwanda border await clearance. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira

The East African Law Society (EALS) has described as “human rights violation” the eviction from Tanzania of Rwandans and perceived Rwandan nationals.

Rwandans, Burundians as well as Tanzanians of Rwandan origin have in the past week been forcefully deported, from the Kagera region in the north-western part of Tanzania.

In a statement received by The New Times, yesterday, EALS president James Mwamu expressed fear that Tanzania’s actions are likely to slow down the integration process that it has been painstakingly supporting.  

Articles on human rights

It cited Article 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Article 13 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 14(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 33(1) of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, saying the provisions prohibit the mass expulsion of non-nationals based on national, racial, ethnic or religious grounds.

“EALS condemns the inhuman and degrading manner of mass expulsion of non nationals from the Kagera region of Tanzania, which is in violation of its commitments,” the statement reads in part.

Quoting independent reports from the Kagera region, the regional bar association also expressed concern over the fact that the Tanzanian government had not even provided the evicted people with the requisite transport facilitation to their countries of origin.

It called on Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete to reconsider his decision on the mass expulsion of non nationals and accord a reasonable time for a comprehensive legal verification process that recognises the legal rights of non nationals resident in Tanzania. 

Verifying situation

EALS also implored EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera to dispatch a verification team to the Kagera region to ensure that the expulsion of non nationals, immigrants and refugees is done in accordance with international and regional legal standards and principles. 

“EALS implores the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to urgently intervene and assist with the ongoing plight of the non nationals expelled from Tanzania, and publicly call the government of Tanzania to respect its international obligations with relation to treatment of non nationals and refugees,” reads the statement. 

EALS is the premier regional bar association of East Africa bringing together the National Law Societies of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanganyika and Zanzibar; with over 10,000 individual lawyers as members. 

The EALS works to enhance the rule of law, human rights and good governance with a view to promoting sustainable social and economic development.

 

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