Legal and Human Rights Centre is a nongovernmental human rights organisation based in Dar es Salaam as its Head Quarters and having a sub-office in Arusha. It was founded and registered in 1995 under the Companies Ordinance, Chapter 212 of the laws of Tanzania as a company without shares limited by guarantee. Before its registration in September, 1995 the Centre was a human rights project of the Tanzania Legal Education Trust (TANLET). Its main purpose is to strive to empower the public, promote, reinforce and safeguard human rights and good governance in Tanzania.
The founders were disillusioned by the State and its policies which were, slowly, alienating the majority of the people. They observed increasing human rights violations such as land evictions of Masai pastoralists, human rights abuses of the people of Hanang whose land had been acquired by the Government and turned into big wheat farms of NAFCO and there were alarming numbers of citizens finding themselves in problems mostly because of ignorance of the law and of their rights. Therefore, human rights camps organised by the University of Dar es Salaam started to raise awareness on issues of human rights and citizen’s responsibility
As civil servants, the lecturers wanted to avoid the risks involved in challenging the State and hence decided to set up an independent, non- governmental human rights centre. LHRC was then established.
Currently the organization has its own house and keys at its head office in Dar es Salaam. Another office is located at Kinondoni near Kinondoni Biafra as well as an office building in Arusha. The offices are well furnished with working equipments and facilities. Having own house and enough working space enables LHRC to be sustainable in its work due to good working environment, tools and the stability that comes with having a roof over one’s head.
Evolution of LHRC
Since inception the organisation has thought big and responded boldly to a range of issues. It has articulated and given visibility to human rights issues in the country, built relationship with the communities and strengthened social and emotional capitals. It has built capacities of young lawyers most of whom are now fearless activists and frontline human rights defenders both at home and abroad. LHRC has trained paralegals, human rights monitors, and volunteers and provided capacity building to civil society organisations. It has organised human rights campaigns on specific issues such as environmental justice, created spaces for citizens to air their views and complaints related to social justice and documented stories of abuse of human rights as well as positive stories.
A cross section of people have participated in the evolution of LHRC as beneficiaries, activists, trainers, consultants, volunteers, paralegals, writers as well as partners.
LHRC is found in some remote areas of the country, raising awareness and providing resources to enable the citizens to re-imagine their communities and increase their ability to solve some of their problems amicably, without necessarily engaging in protracted legalities. Many have realized that they are custodians of their values and indeed are building more inclusive and caring communities. Generally, LHRC has grown to be known as a leading human rights organization, human rights watch dog, pace setter, bold and serious organization as well as flag bearer of human rights in Tanzania. Its operations are mainly focused in Tanzania mainland with specific interventions in Zanzibar. LHRC is a member of different national, regional, international NGOs Networks and human rights bodies. The LHRC has an observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights since 2000.
Vision, Mission & Objectives
LHRC is envisioning a just and equitable society.
It has a mission of empowering the people of Tanzania, so as to promote, reinforce and safeguard human rights and good governance in the country. The broad objective is to create legal and human rights awareness among the public and in particular the underprivileged section of society through legal and civic education, advocacy linked with legal aid provision, research and human rights monitoring.
For the LHRC to be able to forge its way in the realisation of its mission, it has a broad objective of creating legal and human rights awareness and empowerment among the general public and, in particular, the underprivileged sections of the society through legal and civic education, advocacy, research, follow up of human rights abuses and provision of legal aid.
Target Group (s)
By its nature, LHRC programmes and services are wider in scope to benefit the general public including the right holders, duty bearers, vulnerable groups, and victims of human rights violation, law makers, civil society organizations and the general public. Through direct program interventions such as paralegal trainings, Village legal Workers Trainings and Human Rights monitors , LHRC has good link with communities at the grassroots level which ensures that its work have an impact at the national level and society level.
LHRC’s Key Stakeholders
Apart from directing its efforts to the general public, Legal and Human Rights Centre collaborates with diverse number of stakeholders who serve as boundary partners in trying to accomplish its mission and programmes in Tanzania. These include: government ministries, departments and agencies. Others are development partners, United Nations Agencies, Civil Society Organizations; Faith based organizations, research and training institutions. Another important group include: the media houses, networks, paralegals, human rights monitors, trade unions and the private sector.
Identity & Values
LHRC state and nurture its values strongly; they include integrity, transparency – being true to our authentic selves. Its work is defined by quality and innovativeness. This is not achieved merely by skills but by internal organisational processes and insisting on internal integrity. LHRC ensures equality by striving for women’s, children’s and other marginalised groups’ rights. LHRC remains a thinking organisation that works with people very well knowing they are the fire, LHRC is only the stokers of the fire.
These values and stance enable the LHRC to engage authentically, assertively and courageously with both government and partners of every ilk. They enable a vigorous and creative engagement with the LHRC’s constituency in order to educate, influence, challenge and share; and enable them to be assertive of their rights
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