THE European Union (EU) is reviewing its diplomatic relations with Tanzania due to an increasing deterioration of human rights situation in the East African country. Earlier diplomatic efforts to mend fences between EU and Tanzania did not materialise, leading to expulsion of EU head of diplomatic missions in the country two weeks ago. After serious deliberations, member states within EU have taken stern action on Tanzania which, in the past three years of PresidentJohn Magufuli’s rule, is fast degenerating into a dictatorship. SAUTI KUBWA understands that EU has never before made such a decision about Tanzania. Following is EU’s statement issued today at its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium:
For many decades, the European Union and its Member States have enjoyed close and fruitful relations with the United Republic of Tanzania and have been its main development partner and one of its top trade and investment partners.
This partnership, which has also found expression in a common involvement in peace promotion, effective multilateralism and regional integration, must build on reciprocal trust, and be rooted in fundamental values such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
In this respect, the EU and its Member States are concerned about recent political developments in Tanzania. Over the past years, the European Union and its Member States have noticed a shrinking of public space in Tanzania through the tightening of restrictions on the activities of civil society organisations, the media and many political parties. Respect for human rights and the rule of law has been repeatedly undermined. The EU is deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation for LGBTI persons.
In this context, the Tanzanian authorities have consistently increased their pressure on the EU Ambassador. This eventually led to his forced departure and recall for consultations. This unprecedented attitude is not in line with the long established tradition of bilateral dialogue and consultation between the two parties, which the EU deeply regrets. The EU calls on Tanzanian authorities to refrain from exerting undue pressure and limitations on diplomatic missions.
Taking into account all these elements, the European Union and its Member States have decided to conduct a comprehensive review of its policies towards the United Republic of Tanzania. They will maintain engagement with actors from all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life, including civil society, and resume the structured political dialogue with the Tanzanian government once the review of the relationship has been completed, in view of resetting our bonds on a more trustful and forward-looking basis.
The EU and its Member States remain committed to a sound relationship with a stable, democratic and inclusive Tanzania, fully involved in the regional integration process