Tanzania will face a human rights crisis if nothing is done to address violence against children.
That is the key message from the Tanzania Human Rights Report 2018, recently released by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC).
The report shows that violence against children is on the rise in the country, with a significant increase in the number of incidents reported to the police in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.
Around 6,376 incidents of violence against children were reported to the police by mid-2018 — up from 4,728 incidents by mid-2017.
“LHRC found children’s freedom from violence to be the most violated human right, mainly caused by growing incidence of [violence against children],” the report says.
Sexual violence against children is also on the rise. There were 759 reported cases of child rape reported to the police in the first six months of 2017 compared to 2,365 in 2018.
A media survey by LHRC found that 91% of all cases of violence against children involved sexual abuse, and many included reports of rape, the Daily Nation reported.
The report also states: “Sodomy incidents have increased from 12 in the first half of 2017 to 533 in the first half of 2018. Such incidents are also common in schools, including primary schools and boarding schools.”
Speaking to the media, LHRC Researcher, Fundikira Wazambi said: “We have found that perpetrators of sexual violence were identified as neighbours, close relatives, motorcycle riders famously known as Bodaboda, and teachers being implicated in several acts of sexual violence against children in 2018.”
The LHRC research was conducted in 10 districts of the east African country. The report pointed to poverty, lack of childcare knowledge, harmful cultural beliefs, and a lack of awareness about children’s rights as some of the many factors that contribute to violence against children.
The report was released a month after UNICEF Tanzania urged the media, government, and other stakeholders to mainstream child rights.
“It is important that media houses in Tanzania use the opportunity to influence issues facing children in Tanzania to be part of the election agenda, so that those who are aspiring to contest in different posts commit themselves to protect and uphold children's rights,” said Manisha Mishra, chief of communication, advocacy, and partnerships at UNICEF Tanzania.