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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Right groups take Tanzania to AU over pregnant schoolgirl ban

Two NGOs in Tanzania have filed a formal complaint to an African Union body over the government’s “expulsion and exclusion of pregnant girls from public schools”.

The Center for Reproductive Rights along with the Legal and Human Rights Center (LHRC) say the government is violating the rights of adolescent girls by denying them education.

The complaint was filed to the African Union’s Commission on Human and People’s Rights on the grounds that Tanzania is not sticking to commitments it has signed up to.

In June 2017, President John Magufuli sparked outrage when he said that pregnant students should be expelled from school and not allowed to return.

The law he was referring to had existed for a while but had not been implemented.

“While both boy and girl students may face interruptions to their schooling, girls disproportionately bear the harshest consequences under the Tanzanian law,” LHRC’s Fulgence Massawe said in a statement.

“Pregnant school girls have a right to education and should be supported to stay in schools.”

The NGOs quote a recent government survey that found that one in four Tanzanian women aged 15 to 19 are mothers. 

They say schools are not teaching sex education and students do not have the information they need to prevent pregnancy.

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