Adopted by the Committee: 30 January 2015
Published by the Committee: 4 February 2015
Ratification and policy initiatives:
The Committee welcomes the adoption of the following legislative measures: The Children’s Act (Zanzibar, 2011); The Five Year Strategy for the Progressive Child Justice Reform (2013-2017); The establishment of Child Protection Teams at the district and ward levels and the Multi-Sector National Plan of Action to Prevent and Respond to Violence against Children (2012-2015) (para.4,5).
Definition of a child:
The Committee is concerned that the minimum age for marriage is set at 18 for boys and 15 for girls and that exceptions for marriage at even younger ages for boys and girls are possible (para.23).
The Committee reiterates its concern (CRC/C/TZA/CO/2, para. 27) that discrimination against certain groups of children still exists in law and in practice, particularly with regard to teenage pregnant girls and teenage mothers (in the Mainland), children with albinism, children with disabilities, children infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS, and children in street situations. It also notes with concern that almost no systematic measures have been undertaken, including with religious leaders, opinion makers, and the mass media, to combat and change the discriminatory laws, attitudes and practices (para.25).
Threat to life:
The Committee is extremely alarmed about the killings of children with albinism including for ritual purposes and their social exclusion in the State party. The Committee is seriously concerned that the root causes of the violence, including murder, mutilations and trafficking of their body parts are insufficiently addressed; that prosecution of offenders is hampered by fear and reported complicity of some State authorities, and that children with albinism have been placed in boarding schools/shelters for children with special needs. The Committee is further concerned about reports that these shelters, while offering immediate protection, are not temporary as originally intended, are overcrowded, with very limited human and financial resources and unhygienic conditions. Children placed in these boarding school/shelters are separated from their families and segregated from their community. The Committee also notes with concern reports that children with albinism in these shelters are punished, especially by prolonged sun–exposure, causing rapid skin cancer, subject to threats, and even sexual abuse (para.29).
The Committee remains concerned by the low level of births registered, particularly in rural areas. In particular the Committee notes with concern that: Financial resources allocated to carry out birth registration initiatives have remained insufficient; The high costs related to obtaining birth certificates, particularly in rural areas, remain obstacles for many families (para.33).
The Committee reiterates with concern that corporal punishment, including caning, remains widely practiced. In particular, the Committee notes with serious concern provisions in legislation that condone corporal punishment “for justifiable correction” in schools, provided that it is carried out by the head teacher, or for parents to “discipline provided it does not lead to injury”(para.35).
The Committee is deeply concerned about the persistence of forced and early marriages of girls, and to lesser extent of boys, in the State party, at times even before they reach puberty, particularly in poor areas and reportedly due to religious and customary laws. It also notes with concern that despite the Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act (1998) criminalising all sexual activity with girls below the age of 18, marital rape is not prohibited once the married child reaches 15 years. The Committee also notes with concern that being married is one of the grounds for exclusion from school (para.41).
The Committee is concerned that FGM remains prevalent, especially in rural and traditional communities, and that knowledge among women and girls of the related risks is very low. The Committee is particularly concerned about reports that the practice is increasingly performed at a very young age, including on babies (para.43).
Abuse and neglect:
The Committee reiterates its concern about the high prevalence of child abuse and neglect including severe forms of abuse, such as burning with fire. The Committee also expresses its concern about the reduced allocation of resources to protection against abuse and neglect, the limited numbers of social welfare officers, and the low levels of reporting of abuse, in particular in rural and remote areas (para.37).
The Committee expresses serious concern regarding the physical and sexual violence against children in the State party, including in or on the way to and from schools, as well as sexual exploitation, including sexual exploitation of girls, particularly in mining areas. The Committee notes with concern: Reports of sexual violence and abuse carried out by teachers and the lack of disciplinary or criminal investigations of teachers for professional misconduct; That child victims of sexual violence have limited access to psychological services; That girls victims of sexual violence are often reluctant to report abuse and violence to the police due to the stigma surrounding child survivors of gender-based violence; and reports of cases of sexual, physical and emotional abuse by members of the police on girl victims of sexual exploitation under their protection (para.39).
The Committee notes with concern that the State party's report lacks comprehensive statistical data on violence against children, including sexual violence, as well as on investigations, prosecutions, convictions and penalties applied against perpetrators and remedies available to victims (para.45).
Children deprived of family environment:
The Committee notes with concern that: The number of children living without parental care is reportedly increasing in the State party, with a majority of them living in elderly-headed households, child-headed households, in institutional care and in streets; A significant number of children’s homes in the State party are operating without registration, lack adequate inspection, and that numerous cases of child abuse have been reported; Children continue to live in institutions without a review of the placement, contrary to the 2012 Children’s Homes Regulations; and the lack of alternative care services is mainly due to poor coordination (para.47).
The Committee is concerned about the little progress made towards the ratification of the 1993 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter country Adoption (para.49).
Children with disabilities:
The Committee notes with concern that: Children with disabilities are victims to a higher extent of abuse, violence, stigma and exclusion, particularly in rural areas, and especially those with intellectual and psychosocial impairments throughout the country; Early diagnosis of the impairment and support are difficult to obtain, in particular for children from families living in poverty; Parents are at times reluctant to report cases of and seek support for children with disabilities, in particular psycho-social impairments, due to stigma; Infrastructure in public places is not suitable for children with disabilities; There is limited access to inclusive education and well-trained teachers; and Primary school enrolment of children with disabilities is very low (para.51).
The Committee is concerned about the insufficient allocation of financial resources to child health matters and, in particular: The persistent high maternal mortality and morbidity rates; The limited access to health care services to children living in poverty and in remote and rural areas; The prevalence of chronic malnutrition leading to stunting, particularly in the Mainland; and the limited access to safe drinking water and sanitation (para.53).
The Committee remains concerned by the high rate of mother to child transmission and new HIV infections among girls and boys, in particular given the high rates of sexual violence and unprotected teenage sexual relations. The Committee is also concerned about reports that attitudes towards the sexual orientation of some HIV-infected children prevent these children from seeking and receiving proper HIV services and community health services in the State party (para.55).
The Committee is extremely concerned at the high number of teenage pregnancies, including those resulting from sexual abuse and rape. The Committee is also concerned that: Adolescents who become pregnant as a result of sexual violence have limited options and often resort to unsafe abortions resulting in death; Allocation of public resources to provide youth-friendly health services are insufficient; Information and adolescent friendly health services- with or without parental consent- about modern contraceptives, including emergency care are lacking, particularly in rural areas; and Parents, guardians and health care providers have negative attitudes towards adolescent sexual and reproductive health issues (para.57).
The Committee is concerned about: The fees and other unofficial financial contributions still borne by parents of primary and secondary school students; Difficulties faced by some children, in particular those living in poverty and those in remote and rural areas to access education, including the long walking distances from home to school and the absence of school feeding programs; The geographical disparities in ensuring quality education; The persistent rate of absenteeism and drop outs, including due to the fact that the education provided does not adapt to the livelihoods of children and families involved in economic activities such as pastoralism, fishing, mining and farming; Difficulties related to poor infrastructures and inadequate budget allocations to education including teacher shortages and poor teaching and learning materials and environment; and the low levels of awareness amongst parents on the importance of education and school enrolment (para.59).
The Committee regrets the State party’s reservation on continuing education for pregnant girls in the African Youth Charter (2012) and notes with concern that the State party has not repealed the provisions of the Education Act of Tanzania Mainland to explicitly prohibit the expulsion of pregnant girls from school. The Committee also remains concerned that the practices of mandatory pregnancy testing and expulsion of pregnant girls remain prevalent, in particular from secondary education or as a pre-requirement for admission to school in the Mainland (para.61).
Asylum-seeking and refugee children:
The Committee is concerned about reports of frequent sexual and gender-based violence in Nyarugusu refugee camp including giving away a child, mainly a daughter, to pay for debt; forced marriage; and teenage pregnancy. The Committee is also concerned about the scarce opportunities for children, in particular long-term refugee children, to access education and develop life skills, and the insufficient assistance for unaccompanied children in the camps (para.63).
The Committee notes with concern that enforcement of the existing legal framework and policies is weak, that the Plan is not effectively implemented, and that children remain exposed to hazardous labour, especially in agriculture, artisanal mines and stone quarries as well as to exploitation in domestic work. The Committee is also concerned about the limited availability of data on child labour, including in the informal sector (para.65).
The Committee is concerned that the implementation of these plans has been low due to the lack of adequate resources. The Committee is also concerned about the absence of national data available on the prevalence of children living and working on the streets (para.67).
The Committee is further concerned that: There are persistent reports of trafficking of girls in domestic work as well as increasing sexual exploitation and reports of trafficking of body parts; Insufficient resources have been allocated for the implementation of the National Anti-Trafficking in Persons Action Plan 2013-2017, in particular those relating to support victims of exploitation and trafficking; and there is a lack of awareness about the problem of domestic and cross-border child trafficking for sexual exploitation (para.69).
The Committee reiterates its previous concluding observations of 2008 on the State party’s initial report under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography to the Convention (CRC/C/OPSC/TZA/CO/1) (para.71).
The Committee is concerned about: The lack of adequate legal aid services to children in conflict with the law; The insufficient number of professionals with specialized training on juvenile justice; The lack of appropriate detention facilities for under 18 in Zanzibar; Long duration of pre-trial detention of children, in most cases in adult prisons and children serve their sentences in adult prisons; The use of corporal punishment as a judicial sanction; and cases of ill treatment of children in police custody and reports that 30 percent of children in prison have been physically or sexually abused (para.71).