Rape and Domestic Violence: The law provides for life imprisonment for persons convicted of rape, including spousal rape during periods of legal separation. The law stipulates a woman wishing to report a rape must do so at a police station before seeking medical help. Only after obtaining a release form from police may she be admitted to a hospital. This process contributed to medical complications, incomplete forensic evidence, and failure to report rapes. Victims often feared that cases reported to police would be made public.
The law prohibits assault but does not specifically prohibit domestic violence. Domestic violence may serve as grounds for divorce. Domestic violence against women remained widespread, and police rarely investigated such cases.
The LHRC stated there were 17,059 reported cases of gender-based violence, including 5,802 cases of rape, in 2015 (the latest figures available). The Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children and the World Health Organization identified the main forms of gender-based violence as wife-beating (30 percent of cases), defilement (25 percent), rape (20 percent), sexual exploitation (13 percent), and marital rape (12 percent). According to the 2010 Demographic and Health Survey, 45 percent of women experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. The deputy director of criminal investigations on Zanzibar stated that through November 78 cases of sexual violence were reported.
Cultural, family, and social pressures often prevented women from reporting abuse, including rape and domestic violence, and authorities rarely prosecuted persons who abused women. Persons close to the victims, such as relatives and friends, were most likely to be the perpetrators. Many who appeared in court were set free because of corruption in the judicial system, lack of evidence, poor investigations, and poor evidence preservation.
A report by the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) released in 2014 found courts adjudicated few rape cases due to factors including lack of evidence, repeated adjournment of cases, alleged perpetrators jumping bail, witnesses unwilling to appear in court or unable to pay for transport to court, and a legal requirement for a doctor’s report.
According to the Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association, there were 161 gender-based violence cases reported in Mwera and Mfenesini district courts and the Land Tribunal. Of these, 25 cases were continuing, and two had resulted in convictions.
There were some government efforts to combat violence against women. Activities under the 2001-15 National Plan of Action for the Prevention and Eradication of Violence against Women and Children continued. Police maintained 417 gender and children desks in regions throughout the country to support victims and address relevant crimes. Women often tolerated prolonged domestic abuse before seeking a divorce, due to fear of retaliation, loss of support, shame, and family pressure. In Zanzibar, at One Stop Centers in both Unguja and Pemba, victims could receive health services, counseling, legal assistance, and a referral to police.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): The law prohibits FGM/C from being performed on girls under the age of 18, but it does not provide for protection to women ages 18 or older. According to the 2010 Demographic and Health Survey, 15 percent of women and girls ages 15 to 49 were subjected to FGM/C, and 7 percent of girls and women ages 15 to 19 were subjected to the practice. The practice was most common in the northern and central zones: in Manyara the prevalence rate among girls and women 15 to 49 years old was 71 percent, in Dodoma 64 percent, Arusha 59 percent, Singida 51 percent, Mara 40 percent, Kilimanjaro 22 percent, Morogoro 21 percent, and Tanga 20 percent.
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.
No new plan had replaced the 2001-15 National Plan of Action for the Prevention and Eradication of Violence against Women and Children, although activities under the 2001-15 plan continued during the year. The plan enlisted the support of practitioners and community leaders in eradicating FGM/C. As part of the effort, the government continued a three-year program to eradicate FGM/C by 2016 in the Mara Region, one of the most affected areas. The campaign targeted girls, traditional elders, parents, and FGM/C practitioners, using advocacy, education, and information dissemination by government in cooperation with stakeholders to combat FGM/C.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment of women in the workplace. Statistics did not exist on its extent or the effectiveness of enforcement. There were reports women were asked for sexual favors in return for promotions. According to the Women’s Legal Aid Center, many women did not report sexual harassment since cultural norms often place blame on victims of sexual harassment, and police rarely investigated cases. Even when reported, cases were often dropped before they got to court–in some instances by the plaintiffs due to societal pressure and in others by prosecutors due to lack of evidence.
Reproductive Rights: Couples have the ability to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children; manage their reproductive health; and have the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, 32 percent of girls and women ages 15 to 49 used a modern form of contraception. The relatively low rate was due in part to cultural factors, lack of transportation to health clinics, and shortages of contraceptives. On the mainland, use of any contraceptive method among married women varied significantly by region, ranging from 57 percent in Ruvuma to 15 percent in Geita. In Zanzibar use varied from a high of 41 percent in Kusini Unguja to 9 percent in Kusini Pemba. The government provided free prenatal, childbirth, and postpartum services but lacked qualified health-care professionals as well as medical supplies to offer these services widely.
According to the UN Children’s Fund, the maternal mortality rate in 2015 was 398 deaths per 100,000 live births. Skilled health personnel attended approximately 49 percent of births. Major factors influencing high maternal mortality included the low rate of attendance by skilled personnel, high fertility rate, and poor quality of many medical facilities.
Discrimination: The law provides the same legal status and rights for women and men; the law, however, also recognizes customary practices that often favor men. In particular women faced discriminatory treatment in the areas of marriage, divorce, inheritance, and nationality.
While overt discrimination in areas such as education, credit, business ownership, and housing was uncommon, women, especially in rural areas, faced significant disadvantages due to cultural, historical, and educational factors. In much of the country, education was traditionally less valued for women than men. Recent government policies encouraging girls to go to school contributed to increases in school attendance by girls.
Lack of collateral has historically limited women’s access to credit, which has restricted women’s business ownership. Despite improvements in access to bank loans and small credit cooperatives, limited access to financing continued to hinder women’s participation in business.
Women experienced discrimination in employment and pay; problems were particularly acute in the informal sector.
Civil society activists reported widespread discrimination against women in inheritance and divorce proceedings. Women were especially vulnerable if they initiated the separation from their partners or if their partners died. Women have the same status as men under labor law on the mainland. In Zanzibar the law states the normal retirement age for women is 55 and for men 60. The law on the mainland allows men to marry multiple wives in certain circumstances but does not allow women to have multiple husbands. Mainland law generally assumes it is in the best interest of a child under age seven to be with its mother if parents separate or divorce. In Zanzibar qadi courts handle inheritance, marital, and custody issues.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived by birth within the country if at least one parent is a citizen, or if abroad, also if at least one parent is a citizen. The Registration, Insolvency, and Trusteeship Agency estimated 20 percent of the population had birth certificates in 2011, the latest year nationwide statistics were available. Registration within three months of birth is free; parents who wait until later must pay a fee. Public services were not withheld from unregistered children.
Education: Primary education is compulsory and universal on both the mainland and Zanzibar until age 15. Tuition is free, but parents are required to pay for books, uniforms, and school lunches. In December 2015 the government also made secondary school tuition-free, but not compulsory. Many families were unable to pay costs of transport or housing for children who have to travel long distances to secondary schools.
Girls represented approximately half of all children enrolled in primary school but were absent more often than boys due to household duties. At the secondary level, child marriage and pregnancy often prevented girls from finishing school.
The Center for Reproductive Rights reported in 2013 that more than 55,000 girls over the previous decade had been expelled from school for being pregnant. Under the Education and Training Policy launched by the government in 2015, pregnant girls are allowed to be reinstated in schools. The policy, however, was not consistently implemented.
Child Abuse: Violence against and abuse of children were major problems. The law allows head teachers to cane students, and corporal punishment was employed in schools. The National Violence against Children Survey, conducted in 2009 (the most recent data available), found that almost 75 percent of children experienced physical violence prior to age 18. Of these, 60 percent experienced physical violence from relatives and 50 percent from teachers. In 2013 the government launched a three-year national plan to prevent and respond to violence against children. The plan involved programs in all key ministries, especially at the community level through the support of the local government authority. According to the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children, between July 2015 and June, 33,675 cases were reported through the program’s hotline.
Early and Forced Marriage: In July the High Court ruled amendments must be made to the Law of Marriage Act to make child marriage illegal for girls under the age of 18; the law already extends this protection to boys. In August the government appealed this ruling to the Court of Appeal, Tanzania’s highest court. To circumvent these laws, individuals reportedly bribed police or paid a bride price to the family of the girl to avoid prosecution. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), girls as young as seven were married. 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 age 15, according to the 2010 Demographic and Health Survey. Zanzibar has its own law on marriage, but it does not specifically address early marriage.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): See information for girls under 18 in the women’s section above.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law criminalizes child prostitution and child pornography. According to the National Survey on Violence against Children, approximately 4 percent of girls ages 13 to 17 reported they had received money or goods in exchange for sex. Those found guilty of facilitating child prostitution or child pornography are subject to a fine ranging from TZS one million ($460) to TZS 500 million ($230,000), a prison term of one to 20 years, or both. There were no prosecutions based on this law during the year.
The law provides that sexual intercourse with a child under 18 is rape regardless of consent, unless within a legal marriage. The law was not always enforced.
According to TAMWA, child rape remained prevalent. In August there were 2,571 child rapes reported, according to police. According to the 2009 National Survey on Violence against Children, 27.9 percent of girls and women ages 13-24 reported experiencing at least one incident of sexual violence before turning 18. Among boys in the same age group, 13.4 percent reported experiencing at least one incident of sexual violence prior to the age of 18.
Infanticide or Infanticide of Children with Disabilities: Infanticide continued, especially among poor rural mothers who believed themselves unable to afford to raise a child. Nationwide statistics were not available.
Displaced Children: According to the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children, large numbers of children were living and working on the street, especially in cities and near the borders. Statistics from 2012 showed more than 5,000 children were living and working on the streets in Dar es Salaam alone. These 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.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
The Jewish population is very small, and there were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, the judicial system, or the provision of other state services, but the government did not effectively enforce these provisions. Persons with physical disabilities were restricted in employment, education, access to health care, and other state services by physical barriers and inadequate financial resources.
Although the government mandates access to public buildings, transportation, and government services for persons with disabilities, few public buildings were accessible. New public buildings were being built in compliance with the law, but funds to retrofit existing structures were unavailable. The law provides for access to information and communication, but not all persons with disabilities had such access.
There were six members of the union parliament with disabilities. The president appointed one of these MPs, two were elected, and three were chosen by parties. Persons with disabilities held three appointed seats in the Zanzibar House of Representatives.
Although the government reportedly took steps to improve election participation by persons with disabilities, shortcomings continued to limit their full participation. These included inaccessible polling stations, lack of accessible information, limited involvement of persons with disabilities in political parties, the failure of the National Electoral Commission to implement its directives concerning disability, and stigma toward persons with disabilities.
According to the 2008 Tanzanian Disability Survey, an estimated 53 percent of children with disabilities attended school. Approximately 32 percent of those not attending school reported it was due to their disability. Persons with disabilities faced difficulties due to inadequate or unavailable accommodations and stigma, but there were no significant reported patterns of abuse in educational or mental health facilities.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Consensual same-sex sexual conduct is illegal in the country. The law on both the mainland and Zanzibar punishes “gross indecency” by up to five years in prison or a fine. The law punishes any person who has “carnal knowledge of another against the order of nature or permits a man to have carnal knowledge of him against the order of nature” with a prison sentence of 30 years to life on the mainland and imprisonment up to 14 years in Zanzibar. In Zanzibar the law also provides for imprisonment up to five years or a fine for “acts of lesbianism.” The burden of proof in such cases is significant, and according to a 2013 HRW report, arrests of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons rarely led to prosecutions. They usually were a pretext for police to collect bribes or coerce sex from vulnerable individuals. Nonetheless, the CHRAGG’s prison visits in 2014 revealed that “unnatural offenses” were among the most common reasons for pretrial detention of minors. In the past courts charged individuals suspected of same-sex sexual conduct with loitering or prostitution. The law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Police often harassed persons believed to be LGBTI based on their dress or manners.
During the year government officials publicly stated opposition to improved safeguards for the rights of LGBTI persons, which it characterized as contrary to the law of the land and the cultural norms of society. Senior government officials made several anti-LGBTI statements. In August the minister of constitutional affairs and justice stated the ministry was investigating NGOs believed to support homosexuality and same-sex marriage and threatened drastic legal action against them, saying that the “dirt and nonsense” of the westerners should remain with them. He warned if the country relaxed on this issue “later we will be forced to accept marriage with animals as a human right.” LGBTI persons were targets of government sanctioned “sungusungu” citizen patrols. They were often afraid to report violence and other crimes, including those committed by state agents, due to fear of arrest. LGBTI persons faced societal discrimination that restricted their access to health care, including access to information about HIV, housing, and employment. There were no known government efforts to combat such discrimination.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
The 2013 People Living with HIV Stigma Index Report indicated persons with HIV/AIDS experienced significant levels of stigma countrywide (39.4 percent), with stigma particularly high in Dar es Salaam (49.7 percent). The most common forms of stigma and discrimination experienced were gossip, verbal insults, and exclusion from social, family, and religious activities. More than one in five persons with HIV/AIDS experienced a forced change of residence or inability to rent accommodations. In Dar es Salaam, nearly one in three of these persons experienced the loss of a job or other source of income.
The law prohibits discrimination against any person “known or perceived” to be HIV positive and establishes medical standards for confidentiality to protect persons with HIV/AIDS. HRW reported in 2013 that HIV-positive persons, particularly in three key populations (sex workers, drug users, and LGBTI persons) experienced discrimination by law enforcement officials and in accessing health services. Police abuses of these persons included arbitrary arrest, extortion, and refusal to accept complaints from victims of crime. In the health sector, key populations experienced denial of services, verbal harassment and abuse, and violations of confidentiality. In August the government announced a ban on the distribution of lubricants and threatened to deregister and ban NGOs serving the LGBTI community, including those providing health services to counter HIV/AIDS, for “promoting homosexuality.” In response to government threats, several NGOs suspended services to the LGBTI community.
The government included guidance and training on appropriate health-care treatment of key populations in its HIV/AIDS program. Gender Desks at police stations throughout the country were established to help address mistrust between members of key populations and police. The Tanzania AIDS Commission in 2013 established a Key Populations Task Force to enable members of marginalized communities to have a say in government policies affecting them.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
Despite efforts by the government and NGOs to reduce mob violence through educational outreach and community policing, mob violence continued to occur. According to the LHRC, there were 997 cases of killings by mobs in 2015. The LHRC also reported 425 witchcraft-related killings in 2015.
Persons with albinism remained at risk of violence. Some ritual practitioners, particularly in the Lake Zone region, sought albino body parts in the belief they could be used to create power and wealth. In March the body of an unidentified young girl with albinism was found with one foot and genitals cut off. In 2015 the government outlawed witchdoctors in an attempt to curtail killings of persons with albinism. According to a report by the NGO Under the Same Sun, in July a 20-month-old baby girl with albinism survived three abduction attempts in two weeks.
Farmers and pastoralists sometimes argued over traditional animal grazing areas, and violence continued to break out during some disputes.