Human Rights Advocate Jailed in Tanzania — Please Write Letters!

Tundu Antiphas Lissu, a Tanzanian human rights lawyer and outspoken advocate for an independent international inquiry into the evictions at Bulyanulu in August 1996, was detained by police on December 23 in Dar Es Salaam. He was held for over 24 hours in an underground jail known as "The Hole."

There was no probable cause and no warrant for his arrest. He and his colleagues at the Lawyers Environmental Action Team (LEAT) have been subjected to increasing harassment for their dogged pursuit if justice for the small scale miners who were evicted in 1996 to make way for Barrick Gold's enormous Bulyanhulu gold mine. They have been charged with sedition, but argue that the sedition law is unconstitutional. On December 7, Lissu returned voluntarily from the United States to Dar Es Salaam with his wife and twin baby sons.

LEAT lawyers are also restrained by magistrate's order, from travel and from speaking out about the events at Bulyanhulu. They hope to speak to the World Bank Extractive Industries Review in Maputo on January 13-17, since Bulyanhulu will be one of the case studies. Their right to travel to this meeting must be protected.

We ask that concerned persons write or fax the Honourable Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Tanzanian High Commission, asking that there be an independent international inquiry and that the harassment of Lissu and others be stopped.
Hon. Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs
fax (613) 996-9607, e-mail [email protected]
His Excellency Dr. Ben G. Moses, High Commissioner
High Commission of the United Republic of Tanzania
fax (613) 232-5184, e-mail [email protected]
50 Range Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 8J4

Letter sent by MiningWatch Canada to Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs that you can use as a model:

January 3, 2003

The Honourable Bill Graham
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1R 6K7

Dear Mr. Graham:

I am writing to express our dismay about the detention of Tundu Antiphas Lissu in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on December 23, 2002.

We understand that he was arrested without probably cause and without a warrant, and was held in "The Hole" at the Central Police Station in Dar Es Salaam. We understand that he and his colleagues are also restrained from speaking about the events at Bulyanhulu or traveling outside Dar Es Salaam without permission of the magistrate.

We are aware that there are outstanding sedition charges against Mr. Lissu, which he says are unconstitutional, however, we fail to understand the reasons for his detention at this time. Mr. Lissu voluntarily returned to Tanzania from the United States in early December.

We ask once again ask the Canadian government to:

  • support an independent international investigation of the events including the evictions and alleged deaths at Bulyanhulu in August 1996
  • demand that the Tanzanian Government end the harassment of Mr. Lissu, Rugemeleza Nshala, August Mrema and other persons who have been calling for the international investigation, and a withdrawal of the sedition charges against them.

The on-going refusal of the Tanzanian government to behave in a democratic manner in regard to this issue is extremely disturbing and lends credence to the allegations of wrong-doing put forward by the Small Scale Miners Association.

I look forward to your reply,

Yours truly,

Joan Kuyek, National Co-ordinator