Call to act against Loliondo human rights culprits


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Call to act against Loliondo human rights culprits

By Edwin Agola

16th January 2010


Loliondo area

Human rights activists have called on the government to take action regarding inhuman acts done to Loliondo residents following 'indisputable facts' they presented to the Parliamentary Committee on Land, Natural Resources and Environment.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, Land Rights Research and Resources Institute executive director Yefred Myenzi termed the meeting as fruitful and a move in the right direction in good governance.

"We have tabled our findings before the committee as we found it on the ground and, fortunately, the parliamentary committee had also visited the area and there were areas on which we agreed that there was abuse of human rights," said Myenzi.

He said the discussion dwelt on issues such as abuse of human right to shelter like the burning of houses, gender abuse and environmental abuse.

Myenzi said although there were many powerful and influential actors in the Loliondo saga, he was optimistic that the report to be tabled in Parliament later this month would reflect their feelings and findings.

"There are different actors at different levels in the Loliondo issue; however, we are looking forward to a balanced and comprehensive report," he said.

For his part, Legal and Human Rights Centre executive director Francis Kiwanga said they had presented their complaints to the committee for it to take further action regarding inhuman acts done to Loliondo residents.

He said the burning of residential houses, destruction of property and harassment of people by Field Force Unit officers was inhuman and did not follow legal procedures.

"We need to sit and see what happened, and, fortunately, we have all the evidence with us. The parliamentary committee also went there, though late, but they have the knowledge of what happened," said Kiwanga.

Land, Natural Resources and Environment parliamentary committee chairman Job Ndugai preferred to remain tight-lipped on the Loliondo issue, saying he would not comment until the report had been tabled in parliament.

Last September the government threatened to take action against non-governmental organizations and other human rights bodies for misleading the public on the Loliondo issue.

Natural Resources and Tourism minister Shamsa Mwangunga said that some pressure groups had dramatized the eviction exercise to pave the way for a strategic investor for their own interests.
However, she did not specify the type of action the government would take against the pressure groups.


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