Head of government Mizengo Peter Pinda
Head of Zanzibar government Amani Abeid Karume
Death penalty abolitionist in practice
Population 43.7 million
Life expectancy 55 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 112/100 per 1,000
Adult literacy 72.3 per cent
The killing of albino people in some parts of the country continued and the government's overall response remained inadequate. Thousands of Burundian refugees complained of government efforts to force them to return to their country despite fears of persecution upon return. There was a high prevalence of violence against women and girls, and most perpetrators were not held accountable.
Talks between the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party and the opposition Civic United Front regarding power-sharing and legal and electoral reform in semiautonomous Zanzibar, which broke down in 2008, were not restarted. This raised fears of political violence in Zanzibar during the forthcoming political campaigns for the general elections scheduled for 2010.
Discrimination - attacks on albino people
Killings and mutilation of albino people continued, driven by cultural beliefs that albino body parts will make people rich. Reports indicated that over 20 albino people were killed in 2009, bringing the total to over 50 in two years. Although dozens of people suspected of involvement in the murder and mutilation of albino people were arrested, cases concerning only two killings were concluded in court. The first, in September, found three men guilty of murder; the second, in November, convicted four men. Police investigations of such cases remained slow and the overall government effort to prevent attacks on albino people was inadequate.
In July the UN Human Rights Committee issued its concluding observations after considering Tanzania's fourth periodic report submitted under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Committee expressed concerns about the continued high prevalence of gender-based violence, in particular domestic violence and the lack of effective and concrete measures to combat female genital mutilation; the under-resourcing of the human rights institution - the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance; the ill-treatment of detainees by law enforcement officials; and the failure to recognize and protect the rights of minorities and Indigenous peoples, including in relation to the negative impact of projects such as game parks on the traditional way of life of these communities. The Committee also noted the government's failure to implement its previous recommendations.
Refugees and asylum-seekers
More than 36,000 Burundian refugees in Mtabila refugee camp in western Tanzania were at risk of forcible return. Many of the refugees had their homes set on fire or were threatened with arson by individuals acting under instructions of Tanzanian authorities. Despite evidence of several attempts to forcibly return refugees, the authorities denied the use of coercion and said that the return process was voluntary as part of a tripartite agreement between the governments of Tanzania and Burundi and the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. The government announced that it was committed to the closure of the camp and the return home of the refugees by the end of the year. However, very few refugees registered for the voluntary repatriation exercise. No procedures were in place to assess any individual claims by refugees and asylum-seekers of genuine and well founded fears of persecution upon return to their home country.