“Journalists have been jailed for up to three years for trying for trying to highlight issues of corruption in government,” Teffers says. “In the last General Elections journalists were rounded up and put in police custody for pointing out that the polls were not free and fair.”
The situation in Ethiopia is so bad such that in almost every street you will find federal police keeping vigil and barring any anti-government demonstrations.
While the human rights situation has improved slightly in Kenya, Reverend Julius Karanja, moderator of Christian church and school is happy that opposition parties and the media are able to keep the government in check.
However, Karanja laments that land policy issue in Kenya is still wanting. “But if human rights activists keep up the good work the world will be a safer and better place to live in.”
In Tanzania, things are a bit difficult as many people do not know about their rights. There is need to create awareness about human rights in this East African country.
“Most people have become victims of human rights abuse without knowing about their own rights as individuals,” said one Tanzanian delegate at the World Social Forum. “If the government can make human rights part of the education curriculum, then people would be more aware of what their rights are.”
Citing a situation in Dar es Salaam where a photo journalist Mpoki Bukuku and a human rights activist were badly beaten by prison warders for taking photographs of people who being forcefully evicted from houses owned by the Prisons Department,
Human rights activists in Tanzania are yet to act on many things.
The situation in Tanzania is so aggravating that even people found to be HIV positive are fired from their jobs. “Policies are yet to be enacted when it comes to such sensitive matters,” said the delegate who didn’t want to be named.
Although Tanzania is a signatory to international protocols such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the country continues to abuse human rights unashamedly.
Cases of female inmates getting pregnant are rampant but no one is addressing the situation. “The prison situation in Tanzania leaves a lot to be desired,” said the delegate.
People who are physically challenged also feel left out in mainstream society and are discriminated against in terms of employment, infrastructure and health issues.
Most buildings and roads do not cater for handicapped people. “The disabled feel they left out even in the right to education as many schools cannot infuse people without disabilities,” he said.