Tanzania president seizes passports of Indian workers for project delays
- President John Magufuli ordered the seizure of the passports of employees of Overseas Infrastructure Alliance until the water project they are overseeing is complete.
- The project, based in the southern town of Lindi, was originally set to be completed by March 2015.
- The seizure comes as the president has aggressively pursued measures to cut wasteful spending and target corruption while courting foreign businesses.
“Tanzania’s Magufuli orders seizure of expatriate construction workers’ passports” (Reuters | March 2017)
Tanzania suspends funding for HIV/AIDS programs supporting queer men as crackdown grows
- The country’s health minister indicated the programs had been suspended “pending a review,” while programs supporting adolescent girls, drug users, and others will continue uninterrupted.
- The government has accused some community-based and internationally funded programs of normalizing same-sex relationships as part of their outreach to queer men, some 25% of whom are living with HIV.
- Though same-sex relations are punishable by up to 30 years in prison in the country, the government only recently broke its silence on the issue to condemn groups “promoting” homosexuality, with a number of officials having announced anti-LGBT campaigns.
“Tanzania suspends HIV/AIDS programs in new crackdown on gays” (The Washington Post)
“Tanzania suspends some HIV programs for gay men, says health minister” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)
“‘Seeds of hate’ sown as Tanzania starts LGBT crackdown” (The Guardian, August 2016)
(Image Credit: Kevin Sieff/The Washington Post)
Central and East African refugee crisis expands as hundreds of thousands of Burundians flee country
- Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) reported that almost 325,000 Burundians have fled political violence in their country following the president’s decision to seek a third term.
- Almost 250,000 have crossed into neighboring Tanzania, where poor conditions in underresourced, overcrowded camps—including the threat of malaria—have compounded refugees’ insecurity.
- Refugees report having suffered harassment, hunger, and poor prospects as the country has fractured following the disputed July 2015 reelection of President Pierre Nkurunziza.
“Tanzania: Assistance Urgently Needed for Refugees” (Médecins Sans Frontières)
“Burundi exodus driving major African refugee crisis – charity” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)
“Burundi will soon be one of ‘Africa’s biggest refugee crises’, says MSF” (International Business Times)
(Image Credit: Stephanie Aglietti/AFP/Getty Images, via International Business Times)
The Hunted Albinism Community of East and Southern Africa
People with albinism, a condition affecting body pigmentation and sunlight sensitivity, have faced ongoing persecution throughout East and Southern Africa, attacked and trafficked by those who believe their body parts hold magical powers. With albinism found to occur more frequently in certain African regions like East Africa than elsewhere in the world, the higher visibility has led to increased discrimination and prejudice. Children in particular have faced heightened vulnerability to kidnapping and violence, leading some families and governments to respond by segregating children with albinism into Temporary Holding Centers (THCs).
Recent years have seen increased attention to the insecurity of the albinism community in countries like Mozambique, Malawi, and Tanzania. Police have worked to crack down on kidnapping and murders while civil organizations have cropped up to provide education, resources, and support to the community. Nevertheless, ongoing black markets and trafficking networks have endangered the community in ways observers worry may be irreversible without aggressive government and community interventions.
“Mozambique: 50 arrested over albino murders” (StarAfrica, May 2016)
“Albino abductors get 25-year jail term” (Malawi 24, May 2016)
“In Malawi, people with albinism face ‘total extinction’– UN rights expert” (U.N. News Agency, April 2016)
Report on Investigative Mission on the Situation of Children with Albinism in Temporary Holding Shelters – Tanzania (African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, March 2016)
“The first Pan-African Albino Conference” (Global Disability Watch, January 2016)
“Mozambican albinos’ life in fear” (Deutsche Welle, November 2015)
Under the Same Sun
Albinism Society of Kenya
Albinism Society of South Africa
Zimbabwe Albino Association
(Image Credit: Christine Wambaa/OHCHR)
Burundian refugee women in Tanzania face reduced access to reproductive healthcare as relocation looms
- In Nyarugusu, the third-largest refugee camp in the world, an estimated 20,000 of the 100,000 residents are in need of reproductive care.
- Overcrowding at the camp has led to plans for relocating a portion of the refugees to new camps, and with no health clinics currently built there, as many as 10,000 could face disruptions in healthcare.
- More than 200,000 have fled Burundi in the wake of political unrest, with half of the refugees currently residing in Tanzania.
“10,000 Refugees Are About To Lose Access To Reproductive Care” (BuzzFeed News)
“Thousands of Burundi Refugees to Move Out of Overcrowded Camp in Tanzania Amid Crisis” (VICE News)
Burundi Refugee Situation (UNHCR)
(Image Credit: Daniel Hayduk/AFP/Getty Images, via BuzzFeed News)
Treatment program in Ecuador saves newborns of HIV-positive mothers from infection
- In Ecuador, a program driven by the government, Ecuador’s largest maternal hospital, the VIHDA foundation, and Duke University provides antiretroviral medication to newborns of HIV-positive mothers right after birth, significantly reducing their chances of contracting the virus.
- At least 1,000 babies have remained virus-free thanks to the program, when they would otherwise face a 45% chance of infection during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.
- When their status is known, infected mothers receive treatment throughout their pregnancy, but new programs around the world are pushing for ways to quickly reach women who don’t have prenatal appointments during the limited deterrence window.
“I don’t care if my career as a teacher was ruined by this illness. Today I am happy to see my children healthy and studying.”
Read the full story at the BBC.
(Image Credit: Marc-Grégor Photography, via the BBC)
Female politicians in Tanzania set their eyesights on country’s top political seats
- The Tanzania Women Cross Party works to train women in political skills and campaign strategies ahead of October’s elections to avoid overlook and sexual manipulation by political party leadership.
- This election cycle is seeing women step forward for the presidency for the first time, including former UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro.
- Tanzania has a 30% parliamentary quota in place for women, but because it sets aside seats to be filled by party nominations after the election, women are now pushing to be candidates for direct election by constituents.
“There’s no democracy in the political parties. Female candidates are often ignored in the nomination process and that’s why we need to train them to reverse that unfair trend.”
More on this story at the Thomson Reuters Foundation.