International Federation for Human Rights' Open Letter to the Presidents Tanzania and Zanzibar

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

December 6, 2002

The President of the Republic of Tanzania,
Mr. Benjamin Mkapa
And the President of Zanzibar,
Mr. Aman Karume

Your Excellencies,

5th December 2002 - The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and its members, the Legal and Human Rights Center (LHRC) are glad that the report of the independent Commission on Inquiry’s report into the violations of 26-27 January 2001 was made public on 25th November 2002. We believe that the recognition of truth is important for the reconciliation process between CCM and CUF as well as the observance of human rights in Zanzibar.

FIDH is in particular glad to note that the recommendations of the Commission includes electoral and constitutional reforms, as well as training of the police. We are also satisfied that many of civil society’s recommendations which are in line with human rights are mentioned in the Commission’s report.

However, we are most concerned and surprised by the Commission’s blatant dismissal of compensation to the victims of violations, which is contrary to the provision in the Accord of October 2001 between the CCM and CUF that “the two parties also agree…the Government [of Tanzania] and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar provide assistance to the bereaved, injured and all those who have genuine claims..”. The right to effective remedy is provided for in international human rights instruments, namely in Art.8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Art. 2(3) (a) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Compensation to victims is a responsibility of the government, not a granted privilege.

Furthermore, the Commission does not address accountability of those responsible for human rights violations. Among the recommendations of the FIDH / LHRC report “Wave of Violence” (May 2001) is that “violators of human rights be brought promptly to trial” and “based on the findings of the independent commission, both governments should [hold]account all those who abused powers [by] committing human rights violations”. It is also disappointing that the list of victims of human rights violations do not appear in the Commission of Inquiry’s report.

We believe that the reconciliation process depends very much on the full observance of human rights, and we trust that the necessary actions will be taken to fully ensure the right to effective remedy and accountability.

Yours sincerely,

Sidiki Kaba

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