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Théoneste Bagosora Sentence a Lesson in Accountability

Late last month, Malian officials announced that a former Rwandan army colonel convicted of masterminding the slaughter of at least half a million people during the 1994 genocide had died. Théoneste Bagosora, who was 80, was serving a 35-year sentence…
Théoneste Bagosora reacts as he sits in the court at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in Arusha, Tanzania on December 18, 2008.
News

Revoke Decree; Allow Pregnant Girls, Young Mothers to Attend School

(Nairobi) – Tanzania’s ban on pregnant students and adolescent mothers attending school has denied tens of thousands of girls their right to education, Human Rights Watch said today. Public schools across mainland Tanzania conduct compulsory pregnancy…
The flag of the United Republic of Tanzania.
News

Five More Sub-Saharan Countries Act to Protect Girls’ Education; Barriers Remain

(Nairobi) – African countries have taken important steps in recent years to protect the right to education of pregnant students and adolescent mothers, Human Rights Watch said today. Since 2019, at least five sub-Saharan African countries –…
Young mothers at secondary school in Kenya
News

Detention, Ill-Treatment of Poor, Gay, and Transgender People

(Nairobi) – Rwandan authorities rounded up and arbitrarily detained over a dozen gay and transgender people, sex workers, street children, and others in the months before a planned June 2021 high-profile international conference, Human Rights…
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left), then Foreign Secretary, and Paul Kagame (right), President of Rwanda, meet during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, April 17, 2018.
News

Due Process and Fair Trial Violations Undermine Verdict

(Nairobi) – The conviction of the Rwandan critic and political opponent Paul Rusesabagina comes after a flawed trial that is emblematic of the government’s overreach and manipulation of the justice system, Human Rights Watch said today. On…
Paul Rusesabagina attends a court hearing in Kigali, Rwanda, February 26, 2021.
News

Policing Sportswomen’s Bodies Undermines Rights of Women and Girls

This week, at a ceremony hosting the Tanzania men’s football team, President Samia Suluhu made remarks that cast aspersions on the “femininity” and gender of Tanzanian women footballers. Her comments have received widespread condemnation from women…
Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu Hassan speaks during a tour of the Tanga region of Tanzania on March 16, 2021. 
News

Governments Should Halt Trade in Surveillance Technology

(New York) – Recent reports that NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used for surveillance of dozens of journalists, human rights activists, and others demonstrate the urgent need for governments to suspend the trade in surveillance technology until…
People march in Budapest, Hungary during a July 26, 2021 protest against the Hungarian government over reports that it has used Pegasus spyware.
News

Authorities Backsliding on Rights Reforms

On Wednesday morning, police in Mwanza, in northern Tanzania, surrounded the hotel occupied by members of the country’s main opposition party, Chadema, and arrested 11 party members, including the party chairman, Freeman Mbowe. While the other party…
Tanzania Chadema party chairman Freeman Mbowe (center) arrives at the party's headquarters after being released from Segerea prison in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on March 13, 2020.
News

RE: Challenges to Implementation of GCM Objectives #4, 10, 13, 15, 17, 21 in Cameroon, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania, December 2018 – June 2021

Contents: I. Introduction II. Human trafficking (Nigeria, Senegal) III. Migrant detention (Mauritania, South Africa) IV. Migrant returns (Cameroon, Mauritania, Tanzania) V. Discrimination, xenophobia, access to services and documentation (South…
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President Suluhu Should Support Education of Pregnant Girls

Tanzania’s first woman president, Samia Suluhu, took office in March 2021. Her administration has the opportunity to call on education authorities to end the exclusion of pregnant and married girls from public schools. She should urge them to adopt a…
Cartoon for Tanzania Education Report
News
French president Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Rwanda underscored the importance of facing up to responsibilities for past crimes, regardless of how long it takes. Those who bear responsibility for atrocities, whether genocide or war crimes, should take…
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, welcomes Rwanda President Paul Kagame at a dinner for leaders of African states, at the Elysee Palace, Paris, May 17, 2021.
News

Acknowledge his Detention; Ensure Access to Lawyer; Block Any Return to Rwanda

(Nairobi) – A Rwandan asylum seeker and founder of an opposition movement, who has been forcibly disappeared by Mozambique authorities, risks being handed over to Rwanda, where his rights would be violated, including by being subject to an unfair…
Cassien Ntamuhanga.
News

Potential Complicity in Unlawful Detention of ISIS Suspects, Children

Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden should promptly repatriate their nationals unlawfully held in life-threatening conditions in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the four governments today.…
Children fly a kite at al-Hol camp in northeast Syria. 
News
Three years ago, the Tanzanian human rights activist Vicky Ntetema and I sat down at a quiet Dar es Salaam restaurant to talk about the human rights situation in her country. I ordered a meal, but she didn't. She said she didn't eat at…
Samia Suluhu Hassan, center, made history when she was sworn in as Tanzania's first female president at a ceremony at State House in Dar es Salaam, March 19, 2021. 
News

Journalists and Online Commentators Face Persecution for Critical Reporting

Celebrating World Press Freedom Day in Rwanda may well require journalists, activists, and diplomats to toe the line of the government’s ever-growing list of forbidden topics. In a country where the president coolly gives speeches gloating about the…
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame speaks during the state funeral of Kenya’s former president, Daniel arap Moi, at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, February 11, 2020.
News

Urgent Reforms Needed as Commonwealth Summit Approaches

(Nairobi) – Rwandan authorities have threatened, arrested, or prosecuted at least eight people reporting or commenting on current affairs on YouTube over the past year, Human Rights Watch said. A poet who published his poems on YouTube has been…
From top left to right: Innocent Bahati, Yvonne Idamange, Dieudonné Niyonsenga (alias Cyuma Hassan), Aimable Karasira, and Theoneste Nsengimana.
News

An Opportunity to Reverse Trends, Ensure Accountability

Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli, whose death was confirmed on March 17, 2021, leaves a legacy of repression and serious human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. His death provides an opportunity for the new leadership in Tanzania…
Tanzania's President John Magufuli leaves after inspecting a guard of honour during his official visit to Nairobi, Kenya October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya
News

Drop Baseless Charges; Investigate Intelligence Service

(Nairobi) – Burundian authorities should drop baseless charges and release eight former Burundian refugees who were forcibly returned from Tanzania in August 2020. On February 26, 2021, the Muha High Court in Bujumbura ruled against their provisional…
Sign outside the Muha High Court in Bujumbura, Burundi.
News

Open Letter to All Commonwealth Heads of Government

Excellencies, Civil society organizations around the world are calling on the Rwandan authorities to allow an independent, impartial, and effective investigation into the death in custody of Kizito Mihigo, a popular gospel singer and peace activist. As…
Kizito Mihigo.