Third Multi-Stakeholder Conference on Business and Human Rights in Tanzania stresses the need for awareness, stakeholder engagement and a National Action Plan

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On the 17th of February 2021, around 80 key stakeholders from civil society, communities, business and government agencies from Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar gathered at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Dar es Salaam for the third annual multi-stakeholder conference on Business & Human Rights in Tanzania. This event was organised by the Tanzanian Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG), Business and Human Rights Tanzania (BHRT) and the International Peace Information Service (IPIS) as part of the EU-funded project “Improving monitoring, research and dialogue on Business and Human Rights in Tanzania.

As was the objective of the first two multi-stakeholder dialogues, held in 2019 and 2020, this event aimed to raise awareness, exchange expertise and current findings, build trust and ensure multi-stakeholder buy-in to advance the agenda on Business and Human Rights in Tanzania.

The conference’s programme was built around three key sessions: (1) highlights and main achievements of the project “Improving monitoring, research and dialogue on Business and Human Rights in Tanzania, (2) presentations and discussion on the human rights impact of large-scale infrastructure projects , and (3) exchanges on the way forward for progress on corporate human rights accountability in Tanzania.

Welcome and opening remarks were given by CHRAGG’s Executive Secretary, Ms Fatuma Muya, CHRAGG’s Chairman, Hon. Mathew P. M. Mwaimu, and by Mr Cedric Merel, Head of Cooperation with the European Union in Tanzania.

As one of the main achievements of the “monitoring” component of the project, CHRAGG introduced its new Human Rights Complaint Handling Mechanism to the conference audience. This updated system allows all citizens to file and track human rights complaints with Tanzania’s national human rights institution through its website, a mobile app or text messaging. BHRT highlighted some of its mean achievements in raising awareness and providing legal aid to communities in Shinyanga and Morogoro regions.

In the following session, five case studied on the human rights impact of large-scale infrastructures projects were presented, conducted in the framework of the Voices from Tanzania series (“Research” component).

Pilot Light Development Organisation (PILIDO), the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA), Foundation for Environmental Management and Campaign against Poverty (FEMAPO), Governance Links and Action for Justice in Society (AJISO) presented key findings and recommendations from their studies on the impact of infrastructure projects for energy supply (East African Crude Oil Pipeline, Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project, Rural Energy Supply) and transportation (Tanzania Strategic Cities Project, Dar es Salaam-Moshi Railway Renovation). The presentations were followed by a panel discussion among representatives from the government, business and community stakeholders. The need for human rights due diligence, access to effective remedy in case of harm and adequate awareness on rights and procedures were raised.

The afternoon session was fully dedicated to discussing concrete actions to take in order to make progress on the respect for key principles of Business and Human Rights in Tanzania. The main conference resolutions include:

  • To increase education and awareness campaigns on Business and Human Rights
  • To have National Guidelines and a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights
  • To set up a legal and policy framework to regulate human rights obligations for corporate activities, including meaningful engagement and consultation with affected communities
  • To encourage CHRAGG to execute its mandate to the fullest, including ensuring adequate stakeholder engagement, guidance and oversight in the implementation of major business projects in the country.

We thank all stakeholders for their participation and their dedication to push for progress on business and human rights in Tanzania.

Read all about the event’s presentations, discussions, conclusions and recommendations on the way forward for ‘Business and Human Rights in Tanzania’  in the conference report.

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This event is part of the Improving monitoring, research and dialogue on Business & Human Rights in Tanzania’ project implemented by CHRAGG, BHRT and IPIS, with the financial support of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.