Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived by birth within the country’s territory, or if abroad, from one’s parents. Tanzania’s Registration, Insolvency, and Trusteeship Agency estimated that only about 20 percent of the population of more than 40 million had birth certificates.
Registration of births within three months is free; however, parents who register their babies after three months must pay a fee. To encourage registration, children enrolling in preschool must present a registration certificate. However, this stipulation was not strictly enforced and public services were not withheld if a child was not registered.
Education: Primary education is compulsory and universal on both the mainland and Zanzibar until the age of 15. Tuition is free, but parents are required to pay for books, uniforms, and school lunches. Beginning in Form One, the equivalent of the first year of high school, parents are required to pay fees for enrollment. As a result, many children did not attend secondary school. There were inadequate numbers of teachers, books, and other educational materials to meet the demand, which affected the quality and availability of education.
Girls represented roughly half of all those enrolled in primary school but were absent more often than boys due to household duties.
Child Abuse: The law allows head teachers to cane students, and corporal punishment in schools remained a problem, although less so than in previous years.
Child Marriage: The law provides that girls as young as 15 can marry with the consent of parents or guardians, although no consent is required for orphaned girls without guardians. The courts also have discretion to allow the marriages of 14-year-old girls in the case of pregnancy. Additionally, the law allows Muslim and Hindu girls to marry as young as 12 as long as the marriage is not consummated until the girl reaches 15 years of age. To circumvent these laws, offenders bribed police or paid a bride price to the family of the girl to avoid prosecution. An estimated 38 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 24 were married before the age of 18, according to UNICEF data collected between 2000 and 2009.
On Zanzibar there are multiple laws that define the legal age of a child, including the penal code, which defines a child as an individual under the age of 18 who is not married or has not given birth. The Children and Young Person’s Decree was amended during the year to become the Children’s Act of 2011. It defines a child as being under 14. Under Islamic law, however, the age at which a child reaches puberty determines whether he or she is still a child.
Harmful Traditional Practices: The law prohibits female genital mutilation (FGM); however, some tribes and families continued to practice it. Statutory penalties for performing FGM on girls under 18 range from five to 15 years’ imprisonment, a fine of 300,000 TZS ($188), or both. Prosecutions were rare. Many police officers and communities were unaware of the law, victims were often reluctant to testify, and some witnesses feared reprisals from FGM supporters. Some villagers reportedly bribed local leaders not to enforce the law in order to carry out FGM on their daughters. The media reported that others conducted the procedure in hiding, even on babies, to avoid detection by the law.
According to 2005 data, the Ministry of Health estimated that 5 to 15 percent of women and girls underwent FGM, a decrease from a rate of 18 percent in 1995. The average age of FGM victims was less than 10 years. FGM was practiced by approximately 20 of the country’s 130 tribes and was most prevalent in the mainland regions of Arusha, Singida, Kilimanjaro, Morogoro, and Dar es Salaam.
The government continued to implement the 2001-15 National Plan of Action for the Prevention and Eradication of Violence Against Women and Children, which enlisted the support of practitioners and community leaders in eradicating FGM. The Anti Female Genital Mutilation Network (AFNET) worked with education officers in the Serengeti to increase awareness about the negative effects of FGM. AFNET worked specifically with a group of students between the ages of 10 and 13 to help them gain the confidence to refuse the practice.
In April police in the Tarime District, Mara region, called for the government to provide human rights education to combat FGM. The Rogoro Roman Catholic Parish in nearby Masanga village continued to serve as a shelter for girls between the ages of 10 and 16 who fled from family or societal pressures to undergo FGM. In addition to supporting these children, the shelter conducted community training on the dangers of FGM, including a predilection toward fistula.
Despite these efforts residents of the Tarime district continued to perform FGM openly on mature girls. In February the “Women Wake Up” organization conducted a rally against FGM in Tarime. During the campaign young men with machetes, clubs, and other weapons marched around villages to keep out FGM activists and threatened to kill anyone who tried to prevent village girls from undergoing FGM. The media reported that the government took no action in response.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law provides that sexual intercourse with a child under 18 years is rape regardless of consent. The law was not always enforced, however. During the year human rights activists and NGOs complained that the Law of Marriage Act, which provides for marriages of 14-year-old girls, needed amendment to reflect the criminality of sexual intercourse with a child.
The Morogoro Resident Magistrate’s Court sentenced Hashimu Nunda to 30 years in prison, 12 strokes of the cane, and a one million TZS ($625) fine for raping an eight-year-old school girl on June 20.
The law criminalizes child pornography and child prostitution. Nevertheless, sexual exploitation and trafficking of children for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation were problems. Persons found guilty of such offenses were subject to a fine ranging from one million TZS ($625) to 500 million TZS ($312,500), a prison term of one to 20 years, or both.
Infanticide: Infanticide continued to be a problem, especially among poor rural mothers who believed themselves unable to afford to raise a child.
Displaced Children: There were significant numbers of street children in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, and Arusha. In July the deputy minister of health and social development told parliament that approximately 802,000 children were living in adverse conditions. Approximately 668,000 street children had limited access to health and education services because they lacked a fixed address or money to purchase medicines, school uniforms, and books. They were also vulnerable to sexual abuse. The government identified centers where orphans and street children could have access to these services in 89 out of 133 municipalities.
Following a February 18 explosion at the Gongo la Mboto military weapons depot, which killed 25 persons and injured 145 others, children and their families in the area were temporarily displaced. For more than a month, children had limited access to schools and safe housing. According to the December 6 edition of the Mwananchi newspaper, more than 200 victims of the explosion threatened to protest due to the government’s failure to compensate them for the loss of their houses and other property. Those who received compensation complained that the amount was not enough to rebuild.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.