DAA News Network

Tanzania: No access to justice for disabled people

Posted 08/3-11 at 12.31

The failings of the judicial system is a major problem for disabled people in Tanzania, where it is estimated that the levels of sexual assault and other forms of violence are ten times greater for disabled people, especially women and children, than the country's population in general. It must be stressed, however, that abuse is also a major problem for disabled men.

People with learning difficulties are particularly vulnerable, as the law enforcement system does not take into account their needs, often assumes they are unreliable witnesses and thereby leaves them exposed and defenseless. This can result in further attacks and injury during investigative and legal procedures.

In fact, in seems that most criminal cases against disabled people do not go very far, particularly when they relate to gender-based violence.

In short, disabled people in Tanzania are doubly betrayed, by their abusers and by a justice system that is bent on protecting and promoting the interests of the able and powerful. http://allafrica.com/stories/201103030896.html

Editorial comment: The Tanzanian case is hardly unique, but is nonetheless instructive. It reminds us that while throughout the world disabled people have to fight for access to the physical environment, to employment, education or to information, lack of access to the legal system also remains a major barrier to realising equality and human rights.



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