Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived by birth within the country’s territory, or if abroad, from one’s parents. The Registration, Insolvency, and Trusteeship Agency estimated that 20 percent of the population 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, but this stipulation was not strictly enforced, and public services were not withheld if a child was not registered.
On July 23, the government launched a new national birth registration system for under-five children to accelerate birth registration after years of stagnation. The new system was scheduled for implementation in phases with Mbeya in the first phase, followed by Mwanza, Geita, Shinyanga, and Simiyu regions.
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 1, 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.
Girls represented approximately half of all those enrolled in primary school but were absent more often than boys due to household duties. At the secondary level, boys represented a disproportionally high percentage of enrolled students and child marriage and pregnancy often prevented girls from finishing school.
In September the Center for Reproductive Rights reported that more than 55,000 Tanzanian girls over the last decade had been expelled from school for being pregnant. Reportedly, as early as age 11, many schoolgirls were forced to undergo a pregnancy test in order to attend school.
Child Abuse: Violence and abuse against children was a major problem. The law allows head teachers to cane students, and corporal punishment in schools remained a problem, although less so than in previous years. In April the government launched a three-year national plan to prevent and respond to violence against children to address the findings of UNICEF’s National Violence Against Children Survey, released in 2011. The plan was to be integrated into programs across all key ministries, especially at community level through the support of the local government authority. According to Deputy Minister for Health Sefu Rashid, the program includes a health sector component responding to gender-based violence and violence against children.
Forced and Early 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 age 15. To circumvent these laws, offenders bribed police or paid a bride price to the family of the girl to avoid prosecution. An estimated 37 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 24 were married before the age of 18, and 7 percent were married before the age of 15, according to UNICEF data collected between 2000 and 2010.
The government is part of a network consisting of NGOs and other partners who collaborate in the development and implementation of a national advocacy strategy for child rights in Tanzania. Working with the government, UNICEF has been involved in developing state action plans and has supported the establishment of girls clubs and collectives trained on child rights and how to work with the community to stimulate a dialogue about ending child marriage.
On Zanzibar multiple laws 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 Child Act of 2011 defines a child as any person under the age of 18. 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/cutting (FGM/C); however, some tribes and families continued to practice it as part of their tradition. According to a UNICEF survey, between 1997 and 2011, approximately 15 percent of women ages 15-49 were mutilated, and 3 percent of women had at least one daughter who was similarly mutilated. According to the survey, the average age of FGM/C victims was less than 10 years. Approximately 20 of the country’s 130 tribes practiced FGM/C, which was most prevalent in the mainland regions of Mara, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Manyara, Mbeya, Morogoro, Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and Singida.
Statutory penalties for performing FGM/C on girls under 18 range from five to 15 years’ imprisonment, a fine of TZS 300,000 ($187), 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/C supporters. Some villagers reportedly bribed local leaders not to enforce the law in order to carry out FGM/C on their daughters. The media reported that others conducted the procedure in hiding, even on babies, to avoid detection by the law.
During the year police raided a FGM/C ceremony in Same District and arrested 12 women who were accused of participating in the FGM/C ceremony involving 21 girls and their parents. The investigation was ongoing at year’s end.
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/C. For instance, it initiated a three-year program to eradicate FGM/C by 2016 in the Mara Region, one of the most affected areas.
According to Deputy Minister for Community Development, Gender, and Children Ummy Mwalimu, the government put in place an effective strategy to end FGM/C in Tarime through education on the harmful effects of the practice, targeting young girls, traditional elders, parents, and FGM/C practitioners.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law provides that sexual intercourse with a child under 18 years is rape regardless of consent, unless within a legal marriage. The law was not always enforced. 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.
According to the TAMWA, the incidence of child rape was rising, and the major causes included alcoholism, poor education, poverty, and superstition. According to the National Survey on Violence against Children, almost one-third of females ages 13 to 24 experienced at least one incident of sexual violence before the age of 18.
The most common form of sexual violence was unwanted sexual touching followed by attempted rape. Among males in the same age group, more than 13 percent stated that they had experienced at least one incident of sexual abuse prior to the age of 18. Few of those who experienced sexual violence received any assistance.
According to TAMWA executive director Valerie Msoka, 341 cases of sexual assault were reported on Zanzibar alone between 2011 and 2013, of which 104 occurred in the archipelago’s southern districts.
On February 11, local media reported that Emannuel Halala, an Adventist pastor in Mwanza, raped an eight-year-old girl twice after luring her with food and clothing. This case was undergoing prosecution at year’s end.
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 TZS one million ($625) to TZS 500 million ($312,000), a prison term of one to 20 years, or both. There were no prosecutions based on this law.
Infanticide or Infanticide of Children with Disabilities: Infanticide continued to be a problem, especially among poor rural mothers who believed themselves unable to afford to raise a child.
Displaced Children: A survey conducted in 2009 in 95 districts found that 849,054 children were living in “vulnerable conditions.” In April, Minister for Health and Social Welfare Hadji Mponda told parliament that 33,952 of the children lived on the streets.
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. The government identified centers where orphans and street children could have access to these services in 89 out of 133 municipalities. These children were also vulnerable to sexual abuse.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.