[Documents menu] Documents menu

Tanzanian Crackdown Condemned

UN Integrated Regional Information Network (Nairobi), 2 February 2001

Nairobi - Tanzania's handling of the violence at the end of last week on the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, in which an unknown number of people were killed, has drawn international condemnation.

On Wednesday, the European Union condemned excessive use of force by the police during opposition-led demonstrations protesting against the results of last October's election. Opposition leaders say some 280 people were killed, most observers put the figure at between 40 and 50, while official statistics only say it was more than 20. "The confidence of the international community in Tanzania has suffered a serious setback. If the excessive use of force and human rights abuses committed by the security authorities continue, this will inevitably have an impact on the European Union's relations with Tanzania," the Swedish presidency said.

Both the international watchdog bodies, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) have also condemned the government reaction. "The Tanzanian government is seeking to silence the political opposition through terror and violence," declared Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the Africa division of the New York-based AI. The "government's attempt to prevent freedom of assembly is appalling", he said. [For full story see IRIN separate report dated 1 February, headlined: "ZANZIBAR: Tanzanian crackdown draws international condemnation"]

Nairobi, 2 February 2001