This quarterly briefing series presents an overview of published news, articles and reports on business and human rights in four major economic sectors in Tanzania: resource extraction, agriculture, tourism and infrastructure. With this briefing we want to inform on recent events, trends, challenges and opportunities regarding business and human rights in Tanzania.
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The first imported case of Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Tanzania was reported on the 16th of March 2020. To protect people’s livelihoods and the country’s economy, no restrictions on economic activities were imposed. Nevertheless, the global shutdown of international travel did significantly affect revenue streams from all-time strongholds such as tourism, impacting the livelihoods of many in Tanzania and especially those in small businesses. In contrast, Tanzania’s extractive sector, and the export of gold specifically, continue to boost economic growth in the country, despite the global pandemic.
In March 2020, key stakeholders from civil society, the business community and various government agencies from Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar met in Dar es Salaam to discuss the topics of “land rights and environment” during the second Annual Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Business and Human Rights. “Land rights and environment” were identified as cross-cutting issues that affect the rights of many in various ways in Tanzania.
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) underline the role of governments and businesses in the protection and respect of human rights. In their annual review, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark Report observes that also in 2019 corporate progress on the implementation of the UNGPs is alarmingly low overall. Most companies seem to fail to show their respect for human rights.
In May 2019, the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) published its annual Tanzania Human Rights Report. This report examines how fundamental human rights - such as the right to life, freedom of expression, the right to work or the right to enjoy and benefit from natural resources - were enjoyed, protected, promoted and violated in 2018. While both government and non-government actors are working to improve human rights in the country, many challenges remain.
Through their presence and activities, businesses can play an important role in promoting and harming human rights. As established in the United Nations (UN) framework, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, both governments and businesses have duties and responsibilities to protect and respect basic human rights. According to the global Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, published at the end of 2018, there is still a long way to go before companies truly put human rights at the heart of their business.
With Tanzania’s economic landscape developing at a fast pace, relationships between the government, (foreign) investors, businesses, and local communities are constantly evolving. Businesses investing and operating in Tanzania are uniquely placed to promote local growth and development, if they responsibly respect and support public interests such as health, safety, environment, labour rights and human rights in general.
These publications are part of the ‘Improving monitoring, research and dialogue on Business & Human Rights in Tanzania’ project implemented by the Tanzanian Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG), Business and Human Rights Tanzania (BHRT) and the International Peace Information Service (IPIS), with the financial support of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
This briefing is based on news and research published by Tanzanian and international media, journals and institutions. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views, opinions nor work of CHRAGG, BHRT or IPIS.