Tanzania has ratified the following documents:
  • African (Banjul) Charter on Human and People's Rights
  • Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • International Covenant Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The following documents further define the obligations of Tanzania:
  • Beijing +5: Further Actions and Initiatives to Implement the Beijing Platform for Action
  • Beijing Platform for Action
  • Cairo Programme of Action
  • UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The documents listed above require Tanzania to protect and promote the following rights:

Right to development
Right to education
Right to equal protection of the law
Right to highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Right to housing
Right to just and favorable work conditions
Right to liberty and security of the person
Right to life and survival
Right to marry and found a family
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of age
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of disability (i.e. HIV positive)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of marital status
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sex and gender
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
Right to private and family life
Right to receive and impart information
Right to the benefits of scientific progress

Constitutional Protection of Rights

The Constitution of Tanzania can be viewed at http://www.tanzania.go.tz/images/constitutioneng.pdf

The Constitution of Tanzania is an important tool for the protection and promotion of human rights. It explicitly refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in requiring Tanzania to preserve and uphold human dignity.

The Constitution enables Tanzania to translate international agreements into domestic law, and obliges all branches of government to respect and ensure the rights it enunciates.

The Constitution provides for the protection of the following rights, among others. This empowers individuals in making reproductive health decisions, and helps create the economic and social conditions conducive to good sexual and reproductive health.

Right to education (art. 11)
Right to the equal protection of the laws (art. 13)
Right to equality and non-discrimination in the workplace (art. 23)
Right to freedom of association (art. 20)
Right to freedom of movement (art. 17)
Right to freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (art. 13)
Right to liberty and security (art. 15)
Right to life (art. 14)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity (art. 13)
Right to own private property (art. 24)
Right to participate in the affairs of government (art. 21)
Right to private and family life (art. 16)
Right to receive and impart information (art. 18)
Right to seek and obtain redress for violations of rights (art. 26)
Right to work (art. 22)

The Constitution includes other provisions that promote and protect rights relevant for good sexual and reproductive health.

The Constitution obliges Tanzania to:

  • ensure employment to those able to work (art. 9)
  • provide social security (art. 11(1))
  • preserve and uphold human dignity (art. 12)
  • provide equal opportunities to all citizens (art. 9)
  • use resources so as to eradicate poverty, ignorance, and disease (art. 9)
  • ensure equal access to education (art. 11)

However, the Constitution allows restrictions to rights in certain cases.

The Constitution provides that the protection of public health may be grounds for restrictions to rights (art. 30(2)(b)).

What do restrictions entail? By authorizing restrictions, it is acknowledged that Tanzania may be confronted with situations that will entail an infringement on rights. In such situations, Tanzania may take measures to address a public health problem without violating its own constitution.

Restrictions are authorized under international law if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. the restriction is provided for and carried out in accordance with the law
  2. the restriction is in the interest of a legitimate objective of general interest (e.g., the protection of public health)
  3. the restriction is strictly necessary in a democratic society to achieve the objective
  4. there are no less restrictive means available to reach the same objective
  5. the restriction is not drafted or imposed arbitrarily, i.e. in an unreasonable or otherwise discriminatory manner