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Source: Daily News
THE Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) launched the Tanzania Human Rights Report for 2012, with violence against children taking centre stage.

Speaking at the launch, LHRC acting Executive Director Harold Sungusia said the 11th report saw new trends in human rights violations, including increased cases of child abuse.

"What we are seeing in this report, like we did in the previous report, is increased cases of violence against children as well as gender-based violence against men who are physically abused by their spouses," he explained.

Sungusia said the new report shows that defenceless children in the country continued to be victims of physical violence and sexual abuse with perpetrators continuing to be parents, close relatives and neighbours.

He said violations of children's rights were increasing despite the Child Act being in place, adding that while researchers pointed to an increased number of children totalling more than 20 million children's affairs were being handled by three different ministries.

The report, which also includes Zanzibar, shows that in 2012 alone there were 689 rape cases in the isles involving children in which 61 were sodomised and there were 287 rape cases.

"For Tanzania mainland, there were over 6,000 rape cases which were reported, 565 of which involved children below the age of 18 years," one of the researchers of the report, Pasience Mlowe, said.

Mlowe said another highlight of the report was that female genital mutilation continued to be a problem, adding that in December last year over 4,000 girls went under the knife in Mara Region. He said trying to stop the practice was a very difficult task because it was done secretly.

Also the report showed that widow inheritance and cleansing were among harmful practices being practised by some tribes.

"The practice of widow inheritance is common in Makete District, Njombe Region, while widow cleansing is prevalent in the Lake Zone regions," the report read in part.

The report also touched on the LHRC's concern on human trafficking, indicating that the year 2012 saw the capture of over 600 illegal immigrants and the death of 45 Ethiopian nationals in a container in Chitego forest in Kongwa District, Dodoma Region.

"LHRC is seriously concerned with trafficking in persons in the country. It is hard to believe that immigration officers are seriously working at our border posts.

Dodoma is in the central part of the country. It makes one wonder how a truck could move along borders to Dodoma without being noticed," the report reads.

With regard to consumer rights, the report noted that Dar es Salaam residents were at the risk of water-borne diseases after an official from Dawasco revealed that people had been consuming untreated water since 2010 because of the use of weak water treatment chemicals.

According to the LHRC 2012 report, the supply of counterfeit products was on the rise, adding that about 525m US dollars was spent annually on such products.

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