Property rights compromised, lack of human rights education

By  Magdalena Olelemakata

The violation of property ownership in Tanzania has become a critical problem that impacts women, especially widows, in their life regardless of the rights that protect women in owning property.

Anamaria Wiliam (40), a resident of Sudan in Temeke district in Dar es Salaam, faces the problem of losing all her inheritance due to a lack of education on human rights.

She says, “after the death of my husband, his family came and kicked me out of my house and took everything that my husband left. They claimed that I have no any right to inherit any of the property because I never gave a child to my husband. What I did was just to take my clothes and go back to my family where my parents also advised me to leave them and start my new life.”

Anamaria said that she didn’t have any help from legal institutions because she didn’t know of any place that she could go and to report this issue, apart from the court but she had no money to pay to lawyer to defend her.

Speaking with one member of the accused family, who wishes to remain anonymous for security reasons, admits that he disagrees with the idea of taking the property of Anamaria because she has the right to own it even though she didn’t give birth to a child with her husband. He said that he failed to support his in-law because of fear to be isolated with his family.

Meanwhile Asha Omari, the elderly sister of the deceased, says “it’s true that we took our brother’s property, because this women married him when my brother had these properties.”

She claims that Anamaria has no any advantage to them and if she keeps the property she will use it with other men instead of helping them.

According to UDHR of 1948 required member states are to respect and promote the right to own property by creating an environment that allows people to freely enjoy their properties and guarantee to their protections. Every one has the right to own property individually as well as in associations with others.

Emanuel Amon, a graduate with a Bachelor of Law, says that according to the constitution of Tanzania of 1977, every individual has the right to own property and use or dispose it at his liberty. So taking the property from the widow by the shadow of the fact that she didn’t give birth was illegal. He continued to say that more campaigns and human rights education is needed in society so the community is aware of and able to reduce the violation of rights, and ensure equal property rights amongst men and women.

Magdalena’s goal is to focus her career in journalism to fight for the rights of grassroots initiatives and serve the community for national development.

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