Rape and Domestic Violence: The law provides for life imprisonment for persons convicted of rape of women and men younger than age 18, including spousal rape during periods of legal separation. The law does not mention rape of men older than 18. The law stipulates persons wishing to report a rape must do so at a police station, where they must receive a release form before seeking medical help. This process contributed to medical complications, incomplete forensic evidence, and failure to report rapes. Survivors often feared that cases reported to police would be made public.
The law prohibits assault but does not specifically prohibit domestic violence. Domestic violence against women remained widespread, and police rarely investigated such cases.
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 defendants who appeared in court were set free because of corruption in the judicial system, lack of evidence, poor investigations, or poor evidence preservation.
There were some government efforts to combat gender-based violence. Police increased the number of gender and child desks in regions throughout the country to support survivors, address relevant crimes, and address mistrust between members of key populations and police. Their effectiveness, however, varied widely. Police validated a referral guide to improve the quality and consistency of responses to cases of gender-based violence. Despite government efforts, reports of gender-based violence increased. The LHRC released a statement that condemned an increase in gender-based violence within the community during COVID-19 restrictions. In an effort to combat its incidence, the government introduced a social media campaign called Shujaa wa Maendeleo na Ustawi wa Jamii or “Heroes of Community Development and Social Welfare,” which aimed to raise public awareness regarding the issue and encourage reporting instances of gender-based violence.
In prisons the government also continued to coordinate policies, strategies, and guidelines in reference to gender matters. The government introduced gender desks within the prison department as a reporting mechanism for gender-based violence in prisons.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): The law prohibits FGM/C from being performed on girls younger than age 18, but it does not provide for protection to women ages 18 or older.
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. Anti-FGM/C NGOs reported perpetrators were increasingly targeting children below one year to evade enforcement of the law. In 2019 the Ministry of Health reported that approximately 10 percent of women had undergone FGM/C. The areas with the highest rates of FGM/C were Manyara (58 percent), Dodoma (47 percent), Arusha (41 percent), Mara (32 percent), and Singida (31 percent). On September 6, a safe house in Mara region rescued 65 girls from Serengeti district who fled FGM/C in their communities, five of whom had already undergone cutting. The manager of the safe house reported that families took advantage of the August 23 National Population and Housing Census holiday and invited the perpetrators to their homes where the girls were waiting to be counted for the census. The girls were between eight and 17 years of age and were received by the gender and children’s desk and accompanied by a district social welfare officer after reaching out to the local C-SEMA 116 National Child Hotline. The perpetrators, allegedly from Kenya, were detained by police and, as of October 1, the investigation was ongoing.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment of women in the workplace. According to the Women’s Legal Aid Center, police rarely investigated reported cases and the government rarely enforced applicable laws. Those cases that were investigated 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. The LHRC’s 2020/2021 Human Rights and Business Report found that the issue of sexual harassment was among the most pressing matters facing women in the business sector. Women reported experiencing sexual exploitation in order to obtain relief and privileges at work, an issue primarily observed in Mara, Mbeya, Shinyanga, Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, and Dodoma Regions. The LHRC’s survey in Shinyanga also illustrated cases of sexual harassment against women in Chinese-owned mines, where women reported sexual harassment by Chinese workers and supervisors.
Reproductive Rights: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization on the part of government authorities.
Fewer than one-third of married women used modern contraceptives. Nearly one in four women would like to prevent pregnancy but lacked access to family planning. Family planning, including contraceptives, were covered in the national health system. One in four adolescent girls between ages 15 and 19 were already mothers or were pregnant with their first child. Of adolescents living in rural areas, 32 percent had a live birth or were pregnant, compared with 19 percent of those living in urban areas. Adolescence was associated with a high frequency of child marriage, insufficient knowledge about sexually transmitted infections, and restricted access to sexual and reproductive health services. Persons with disabilities (especially adolescents) had greater unmet sexual and reproductive health needs than the general population due to lack of information and increased risk for sexual abuse and rape, HIV, and sexually transmitted infections, and stigma.
Access to sexual and reproductive health services was hindered by communication and environmental barriers, physical inaccessibility, and negative interaction with service providers including lack of confidentiality, mistreatment and disrespect, and inadequacy of service delivery.
Despite government efforts to improve the availability and quality of postabortion services, women and girls who suffered complications avoided seeking treatment due to being prosecuted, and many health-care providers were not aware they were legally allowed to provide treatment and that women had the right to such service.
Within the Reproductive and Child Health Unit in the Ministry of Health and implemented by the President’s Office for Regional Administration and Local Government, the government has national guidelines managing the health sector response to and the prevention of gender-based violence. Health facilities trained on sex and gender-based violence and provided sexual and reproductive health information, as well as emergency contraceptive and prophylaxis to survivors of sexual violence, per standard operating procedures.
From 2007 to 2015, maternal mortality increased from 454 to 556 per 100,000 live births. Only 57 to 68 percent of pregnant women delivered with a skilled birth attendant. A recent study conducted in Lindi and Mtwara Regions in the southern part of the country found that traumatic and nontraumatic postpartum hemorrhage was the most common cause of maternal deaths: 51 percent of women died within 24 hours of delivery; 60 percent of those who died were ages 25 to 36; and 63 percent were lower-income rural inhabitants.
Many women had untreated obstructed fistula, a situation resulting in large part from deficiencies in the health system. Women attributed fistula development to negative experiences such as disrespectful maternity care. Multiple studies reported that women also perceived that their fistula resulted from prolonged wait times in the primary health-care facility due to nurses’ negligence and failure to make decisions to transfer them to a better prepared facility in a timely manner. Moreover, mothers reported persistent systematic barriers and dismissive institutional norms and practice, including poor communication, denial of husbands’ presence at birth, denial of mobility, denial of safe traditional practices, no respect for their preferred birth positions, and poor physical condition of facilities. Community stigma was another major factor that delayed women seeking obstetric fistula treatment. On July 5, President Hassan inaugurated a new maternal and newborn wing at a Dar es Salaam hospital, which incorporated specialized programs for pregnant women with disabilities, teenage pregnancy, and women with prior histories of obstructed fistula.
Menstrual hygiene also remained a prohibitive factor for girls’ access to education, as most girls did not have access to feminine hygiene products and decided to remain home during their menstrual period. Schools did not provide comprehensive sexuality education, and students reported they did not have adequate information to prevent pregnancy. In addition many girls became pregnant as a result of rape. Under the Education and Training Policy launched by the government in 2015, pregnant girls may be reinstated in schools. In 2017, however, President Magufuli declared that girls would not be allowed to return to school after giving birth. Human rights NGOs criticized the policy as contrary to the country’s constitution and laws. This policy led to girls being excluded from educational opportunities, while the fathers of the babies were often their teachers or other older men who frequently did not suffer any consequences (see section 6, Children). In November 2021, the government announced it would allow persons who had dropped out of school, including pregnant school-age girls and adolescent mothers, to return to the formal education system. On March 31, the government announced that 384 girls who had dropped out of school due to pregnancy or childbirth resumed their studies.
Discrimination: The law provides the same legal status and rights for women and men, including in employment, housing, education, and health care, and the government generally enforced the law; however, the law also recognizes customary practices that often favor men.
While women faced discriminatory treatment in marriage, divorce, inheritance, and nationality, overt discrimination in education, credit, business ownership, and housing was uncommon. There are no legal restrictions on women’s employment in the same occupations, tasks, and working hours as men. Nevertheless, women, especially in rural areas, and LGBTQI+ persons faced significant disadvantages due to cultural, historical, and educational factors.
Systemic Racial or Ethnic Violence and Discrimination
During the year there were isolated reports of systemic racial or ethnic violence or discrimination. There are no laws for the specific protection of racial or ethnic minorities.
The country does not recognize the rights of Indigenous peoples or those who self-identify as Indigenous. Indigenous persons may face forcible evictions from traditionally Indigenous lands for conservation or development efforts.
On June 9, Maasai residents and NGOs were subject to threats and violence in Loliondo division of Ngorongoro district, including by police and immigration officials, following their advocacy for environmental and Indigenous rights. As security forces began the demarcation process of approximately 580 square miles of land at the center of a dispute that started in 1992 when the land was provided as a concession to a private business, pastoralist residents protested by removing the beacons the security forces had erected. According to Amnesty International, the livelihood of the Maasai community depended on the “ancestral” land that was being confiscated by the government. Residents were reportedly met with use of force and more than thirty persons sustained injuries, including bullet wounds, and many fled across the border into Kenya to receive medical treatment, according to media reports. On June 17, the government arrested 27 Loliondo residents on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder following the killing of a police officer during the protest. On July 28, three were acquitted, while the remaining accused remained held in Kisongo Central Prison in the Arusha region.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived by birth within the country or abroad if at least one parent is a citizen. 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. The Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency facilitated birth registrations. The registration program continued, issuing 7.5 million birth certificates by year’s end in 23 regions including Shinyanga, Mbeya, Njombe, Mwanza, Iringa, Geita, and Temeke.
Education: According to law, primary education is compulsory and universal on both the mainland and Zanzibar until age 13. Secondary school is tuition-free in Zanzibar but is not compulsory. The ruling CCM party manifesto includes a policy to provide fee-free education for primary and secondary students. Parents must still provide food, uniforms, and transportation.
Girls represented approximately one-half of all children enrolled in primary school but were absent more often than boys due to household duties and lack of sanitary facilities. At the secondary level, child, early, and forced marriage and pregnancy often caused girls to be expelled or otherwise prevented girls from finishing school (see section 6, Women, Reproductive Rights).
During the year, the government continued to allow pregnant girls who had been expelled from school under former President Magufuli to attend both formal and alternative education opportunities after giving birth. President Hassan has not, however, officially reversed the expulsion policy of girls who become pregnant.
Child Abuse: Violence against and abuse of children were major problems. The law prohibits infringing upon the rights of the child, including causing physical, moral, or emotional harm, as well as neglect, sexual abuse, and exploitive labor. Corporal punishment was employed in schools, and the law allows head teachers to cane students. The National Violence against Children Survey, conducted in 2009 (the most recent data available), found almost 75 percent of children experienced physical violence prior to age 18. In response to a reported increase in child abuse, Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women, and Special Groups Dorothy Gwajima announced on August 13 that the government would review existing law.
Child, Early, and Forced Marriage: The law sets the legal age for marriage at 18 for boys and 14 with parental consent for girls. The law makes it illegal to marry a primary or secondary school student. 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, girls as young as age seven were married. Zanzibar has its own law on marriage, but it does not specifically address child, early, and forced marriage. The government provided secondary school-level education campaigns on gender-based violence, which included information on child, early, and forced marriage.
On August 16, the Shinyaga regional police commander confirmed the arrest of four persons in Morogoro region for allegedly kidnapping a girl, age 16, with intent to force her to into marriage for a dowry of 30 cows. On August 3, police raided a wedding between an age 15 bride and age 17 groom in Dodoma. Police arrested the bride’s parents who received a dowry of four cows and between six to eight goats. The head of Makang’wa Secondary School identified the bride and said she had already reported the girl to authorities after she failed to report to school in January. At year’s end, the investigation was ongoing.
The Women’s Legal Aid Center reported increasing patterns of early marriage within refugee camps, further complicated by laws of the child, which refer to children as younger than 18. The marriage law, however, allows girls to marry at age 14.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law criminalizes commercial sexual exploitation of children, including prostitution, sexual exhibitions, and child pornography. During the year there were no reported prosecutions based on this law. The law provides that sexual intercourse with a child younger than 18 is rape unless within a legal marriage. The law was not always enforced because cases were not always reported or because girls, facing pressure, dropped charges. For example, there were accounts of statutory rapes of girls that went unreported in Zanzibar. There were unofficial reports that the number of cases of statutory rapes in Zanzibar increased, but there were no official statistics to substantiate those claims.
Infanticide, Including 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 Community Development, Gender, Women, and Special Groups, large numbers of children were living and working on the street, especially in cities and near the borders. After data collection throughout 26 regions and 138 districts, the ministry reported in 2021 that 29,983 children were living in hazardous conditions during the year. 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. According to the Ministry of Community Development, during the year, displaced children received necessities, including food, clothing, education, and health services, from a combination of government and private organizations.
The Jewish population was very small, and there were no reports of antisemitic acts.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at https://www.state.gov/trafficking-in-persons-report/.
Acts of Violence, Criminalization, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression, or Sex Characteristics
Criminalization: Consensual same-sex sexual conduct is criminalized. 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 convicted of having “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 on the mainland of 30 years to life and in Zanzibar of imprisonment up to 14 years. In Zanzibar, the law provides for imprisonment up to five years or a fine for “acts of lesbianism.” In the past, courts charged individuals suspected of same-sex sexual conduct with loitering or prostitution. LGBTQI+ advocacy organizations reported more than 50 known arrests between November 2018 and April 2020.
LGBTQI+ persons were afraid to report violence and other crimes, including those committed by state agents, due to fear of arrest for same-sex sexual conduct. On July 25, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Coalition Tanzania reported the outing of several LGBTQI+ persons online on the Mange Kimambi App, a tabloid-type app, which exposed those persons to potential criminal prosecution. In July the app distributed without his consent a video of a gay man, identifying him by name, engaging in same-sex sexual conduct in Dar es Salaam. He reported the incident to the cybercrime unit of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority who informed him that while he was able to report the video to police, he might be subject to arrest and investigation for engaging in illegal conduct. He decided not to move forward with a police investigation, but the video was eventually removed.
Violence against LGBTQI+ Persons: Incidents of violence against LGBTQI+ persons occurred, but reporting was limited because individuals feared identification, arrest, and discrimination or violence from police, family members, or strangers; advocates for the rights of LGBTQI+ persons worked with few resources; and the government did not systematically track violence or discrimination against LGBTQI+ persons.
There were no safe houses or shelters in Zanzibar for LGBTQI+ persons facing discrimination, violence, or abuses based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
Discrimination: The law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, and does not recognize LGBTQI+ individuals, couples, or their families. Police often verbally and sometimes physically harassed or intimidated persons believed to be LGBTQI+ based on their dress or mannerisms. LGBTQI+ persons faced societal discrimination that restricted their access to health care, including access to information regarding HIV, housing, and employment. There were no known government efforts to combat such discrimination.
Availability of Legal Gender Recognition: There is no legal means for individuals to update their gender markers on personal identity documents. The inability to obtain legal identity documents that align with their gender expression creates significant problems for transgender and nonbinary persons in employment, education, housing, and virtually all aspects of life.
Involuntary or Coercive Medical or Psychological Practices Specifically Targeting LGBTQI+ Individuals: There were reports of the use of involuntary or coercive practices in an effort to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, primarily through nonphysical means such as talk “therapy” by medical or mental health practitioners or religious or community leaders. There were no efforts by government or medical associations to condemn such practices.
Restrictions of Freedom of Expression, Association, or Peaceful Assembly: NGOs reported difficulty registering organizations under LGBTQI+ focused names, often needing to use aliases or vague language. The Key and Vulnerable Population Forum, a consortia of civil society organizations working to address HIV among high-risk populations, including men who have sex with men, transgender persons, and gay men, were able to complete the NGO registration process using a nondescriptive name after several failed attempts. While there was continuing fear among these NGOs about their ability to operate freely and openly, they reported remaining relatively free from targeting and deregistration by authorities under President Hassan (see also section 2.a., Internet Freedom).
In March police raided an LGBTQI+ safe house in Morogoro region for allegedly operating against the law. The safe house was previously raided by police in 2021 and community members paid requested bribes between one and five million Tanzanian shillings ($431 to $2,160) to avoid arrest.
LGBTQI+ individuals cannot freely assemble, associate, or express themselves publicly out of fear of identification, arrest, and discrimination or violence by police or family members.
Persons with Disabilities
Persons with disabilities sometimes could not access education, health care, and transportation on an equal basis with others. The law provides equality in status and prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities. The government, however, did not effectively enforce these provisions. Few public buildings were accessible to persons with disabilities. New public buildings, however, were built in compliance with the law to provide access. The law provides for access to information and communication, but not all persons with disabilities had such access.
According to the Annual Education Survey of 2020/21, the government expanded school infrastructure for children with disabilities as part of its National Strategy for Inclusive Education. The government procured equipment such as braille machines, magnifiers, large print books, audiometers, and specialized furniture. More than 340,000 learners with special needs remained out of school. Limits to the political participation of persons with disabilities included inaccessible polling stations, lack of accessible information, limited inclusion in political parties, the failure of the NEC to implement directives concerning disability, and prejudice toward persons with disabilities.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
The law prohibits discrimination against any person “known or perceived” to be HIV-positive and establishes medical confidentiality standards to protect persons with HIV and AIDS. Police abuses of HIV-positive persons, particularly in three key populations (sex workers, drug users, and LGBTQI+ persons), were not uncommon and 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 May in response to community complaints, police conducted a crackdown on sex workers in Dar es Salaam. During the operation, there were credible reports of arbitrary arrests, in addition to prolonged detention, extortion, rape, sexual assault, and other physical violence. Similar crackdown operations were reported in the Iringa region in June.
The 2013 People Living with HIV Stigma Index Report indicated persons with HIV and AIDS experienced significant levels of stigma countrywide (39 percent), with stigma particularly high in Dar es Salaam (50 percent). The report highlighted that most common forms of stigma and discrimination were verbal insults and exclusion from social, family, and religious activities. Results also showed that more than one in five persons with HIV and 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. In 2021, the country completed its second People Living with HIV Stigma Index Report to further assess levels of HIV and AIDS social stigma. Researchers were denied approval by the national ethics committee to include any marginalized populations including men who have sex with men and gay men in the study sample. The study is expected to be reconducted in 2023 as researchers reported the ethics committee is extend approval for inclusion of marginalized groups under President Hassan.
Since 2017, the government has prohibited the free distribution of lubricant as an HIV harm reduction strategy, as well as the establishment of key population drop-in centers to offer HIV care and treatment services to marginalized populations.
Despite efforts by the government and NGOs to reduce mob violence through educational outreach and community policing, mob violence continued. On July 29, an angry mob in Kiloka district of Morogoro region killed a resident following allegations of marital infidelity. On June 10, police arrested 12 persons in Manyara region after a mob killed a woman following allegations that she was trafficking human body parts.
Witchcraft-related attacks and killings continued to be a problem and were largely underreported, according to Under the Same Sun, a Christian organization advocating for the rights of persons with albinism. According to the LHRC’s 2020 report, there were 112 witchcraft-related killings in 2020. Major victims or targets of such killings were often children or elderly women. In 2015 the government outlawed witchdoctors in an attempt to curtail killings of persons with albinism. Attacks on persons with albinism declined, but there was one reported case of a person with albinism being attacked during the year. Persons with albinism remained at risk of violence, however, especially during election times, since some ritual practitioners sought body parts from persons with albinism in the belief they could be used to bring power, wealth, and good fortune. According to the Africa Albinism Network, police arrested a resident of Shinyanga region on August 28 after he allegedly attempted to purchase the body parts of a woman with albinism for seven million Tanzanian shillings ($3,020). On April 27, LHRC condemned the attempted amputation of a person with albinism in Dar es Salaam. At the year’s end, there was no suspect in police custody.
Farmers and pastoralists sometimes argued over traditional animal grazing areas, and violence occurred during some disputes. In January the inspector general of police announced the arrest of 20 individuals after six persons were killed in Kilindi district as pastoralists who were armed clashed with farmers in a dispute over resources. On July 28, District Commissioner Siriel Shaidi confirmed a violent clash between farmers and pastoralists erupted in Kilindi district in Tanga region. Farmers were reportedly protesting the destruction of their farms by pastoralists in the area and escalated into violence, which left two farmers injured and hospitalized.