December 4, 2022

Watetezi Media

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REFRESHERS WORKSHOP TO JUDGES AND MAGISTRATES OF THE JUDICIARY OF ZANZIBAR ON HOW TO HANDLE HUMAN RIGHTS CASES

By Loveness Muhagazi

The Tanzania human rights defenders Coalition (THRDC- Zanzibar) in collaboration with the Judiciary of Zanzibar has organized a two days’ workshop which involves Judges and Magistrates from Unguja and Pemba Islands with the objective of sensitizing Judges and Magistrates of the Judiciary of Zanzibar on the relevance and importance of adjudicating human rights cases from a lens of human rights standards as provided under Article 10(9) of the 1984 Constitution of Zanzibar.

The workshop has brought together 50 Judiciary senior officials from the High Court of Zanzibar, Magistrates, Attorney General – Zanzibar, Acting Chief Justice of Zanzibar, Director of Public prosecution-Zanzibar, Deputy Commissioner of Police- Zanzibar, and Commission of Human Rights and Good Governance, with the aim of adding value to step towards improving the capacity of the Judiciary in resolving human rights cases in Zanzibar in an effective manner.

The facilitators of the workshop include among others, Hon Ret. Judge of high Court, Judge Joaquine De Melo, Hon Ret. judge Awadhi Bawazir, Dr. Clement Mashamba from Law school of Tanzania and Prof. Chris Maina Peter from University of Dar es Salaam.

The Judiciary in Collaboration with THRDC-Zanzibar decided to organize this refresher workshop after identified gaps in handling human rights cases, mostly, gender-based violence (GBV) cases, which have been reported in an alarming rate in Zanzibar. According to reports victims of such violations (often women and children) often face minimal sentencing of perpetrators, corruption, and judgements taking too long to be concluded which resulted to social ostracism and secrecy among the victims who are often financially incapable to get competent legal representation.

GBV has been of tremendous concern in Zanzibar whereby the reports show that, in 2018, a total of 942 GBV cases were reported to the Police Gender and Children’s Desks (According to UNFPA, 2019) report. According to another recent report from the Office of the Chief Government Statistician, Zanzibar (OCGSZ) recorded 108 incidents of abuse against women and children in July 2021 which is higher compared to 97 cases recorded in June. (All Africa Reports, 2021).

During this workshop the Judges and Magistrates will refresh their minds on areas of Regional and International Human Rights Standards, Human Rights and Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV). In addition to that they will also focus on Fair Trial Rights and Access to Justice in Zanzibar, Human Rights Practice and Procedure, and how to Handle SGBV Cases in Zanzibar. Mainly participants will be sharing knowledge and experience on how to handle human rights cases.

Human rights defenders believes that it is pertinent for judges as human rights defenders to exercise a liberal approach by applying human rights principles and norms when it comes to adjudicating human rights cases in ensuring justice and reparation for victims of human rights abuses.

This workshop marks a continuous activity of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition in collaboration with the Judiciary, to facilitates workshops for Judges and magistrates to meet and refresh on how to handle human rights cases including public interest litigations, this is to make sure there is human rights adherence in court proceedings especially on how human rights cases are handled.

Issued by Communication Officer, THRDC
November 27, 2021