UPR submission Tanzania
On 25 March 2021, Lawyers for Lawyers submitted a report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Tanzania. This review of Tanzania will take place in November 2021.
In the report, Lawyers for Lawyers highlights that Tanzania is currently not consistently upholding the necessary guarantees for the proper functioning of the legal profession and is therefore not fulfilling the requirements set out in the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
Lawyers for Lawyers expresses concern on various issues with regards to the effective guarantees for the functioning of lawyers. The first issue that was brought to the attention of Lawyers for Lawyers by lawyers in Tanzania was the threats to the independence of the Bar Association. Due to legislative reforms the Bar Association has been subjected to external interference by the government, which impacts its ability to independently organize its external structure.
Secondly, reliable sources indicate that there are problems with the impartiality of the disciplinary committee that is responsible for disbarment procedures of lawyers. As a result, there have been multiple cases of disbarment proceedings being initiated on improper grounds against lawyers who have been critical of the government. The threat of disbarment to lawyers who express critical views is also in violation of the right to freedom of expression of lawyers.
Lawyers for lawyers was further informed by lawyers in Tanzania that there is a lack of lawyer-client confidentiality. The lawyers stated that they cannot have confidential meetings with their clients in detention, as prison guards have to be present at all times. A second problem with lawyer-client confidentiality that was highlighted was the requirement for lawyers to report any electronic fund transfers by their clients that exceed USD 1000 to the Financial Intelligence Unit, which could be perceived as disproportional.
Lawyers for Lawyers has made multiple recommendations to the government of Tanzania.
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