HUMAN RIGHTS STAKEHOLDERS WANT DEATH PENALTY ABOLISHED
The Legal and Human Rights Centre in collaboration with the European Union has brought together stakeholders to discourse and compromise on death penalty in Tanzania. The session that brought under one roof more than 100 participants from national and international community’s which included diplomats from European Union, the LHRC Board of Directors and staff, religious leaders, traditional leaders, representatives from media, NGOs and representatives from government institutions and departments took place on Thursday October 20, 2016 at British Council in Dar es Salaam.
The discourse saw participants airing their views on death sentence freely, and reach consensus on the punishment.
When giving his remarks on death penalty, the Head of European Union Delegation in Tanzania, His Excellence Roeland Van Geer said that European Union is totally against the punishment as it violates human rights particularly rights to life. “Death penalty is incompatible with right to life, it is inhuman and degrading form of punishment”, said Geer. He further urged the government of Tanzania to officially announce the moratorium on death penalty as it has not been performing it since 1994 which means the punishment is barely practical.
The Chairperson of Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG), Tom Bahame Nyanduga called upon the government to call off the punishment condemning it to be against the principles of human rights. Nyanduga claimed the government to join other 20 African countries which have abolished death penalty to abolish it in Tanzania since there is no any proof that the punishment counterattacks crimes.
Consequently the Executive Director for the LHRC, Dr. Helen Kijo-Bisimba thrashed the punishment saying that it transgresses right to life. Dr. Bisimba recommended the government to abolish death sentence and officially embrace its moratorium and provide the judiciary with power to decide on alternative sentences.
Other discussants who bestowed their views against death penalty during the session include the Justice and Peace operator from the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC), Cassian Lushinge who urged the government to end the punishment, “this is a time to teach clearly, encourage reflection and call for common action on catholic community and the public to bring an end to the practice of the death penalty”, said Lushinge. Masai clan elder, Adam Mwarabu recapped for the abolition saying that instead of capital punishment Masai community used to isolate people who killed others from their families.
On the another side of a coin, some few discussants including a representative from National Muslim Council of Tanzania (BAKWATA), Ally Khamis buoyed the embracement of death penalty referring to Islamic teachings which require that willful killing must be punishable by death.
Conclusively; all participants agreed that, from a human rights perspective the death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment which violates the right to life.
The event concluded the commemoration of 14th World Day Against Death Penalty. The day is globally commemorated on 10th October every year.
The LHRC’s Dr. Helen Kijo-Bisimba (center) addresses participants of the session. She is flanked by the Head of European Union Delegation in Tanzania, Roeland Van Geer (left) and the Chairperson for CHRAGG, Tom Bahame Nyanduga.
Participants conform to the session
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