Conscientious Objection to Military Service: Issues for the Country Report Task Forces - TANZANIA

en

Submission to the 95th Session of the Human Rights Committee: March 2009

Although the regular armed forces of the United Republic of Tanzania
have always relied on voluntary recruitment, there are concerns about
the national service scheme “Jeshi na Kujenga Taifa” or
JKT, which in 1972 was put under the control of the Ministry
of Defence and became compulsory for those completing secondary
education. Those enrolled under this scheme initially served for
three years, during which they were housed in military camps and
received military training and civic education, but were mainly
employed in agricultural activity to support the armed forces, and
were subsequently allocated to a “citizens’ militia” reserve
force. There were no reports of any provisions allowing for
conscientious objection to participation in this scheme.1
The scale of the scheme was subsequently much reduced, the length of
service being shortened and the compulsory element being removed -
except that completion of national service remained a precondition
for admission to tertiary education or public employment. However
the scheme was reportedly re-instituted in 1999, with more emphasis
on vocational training.2
It appears that the length of service is currently two years and
that the mobilisation strength of the citizens’ militia reserve is
some 80,000.3



CPTI would urge that any obligatory scheme which involves a military
training element ought to incorporate provisions accommodating
potential conscientious objectors, and that military training,
whether or not itself compulsory, should not be a precondition of
access to higher education or public employment.


Some of
our information on the United Republic of Tanzania is dated, but we
would suggest that the State Party might usefully be asked whether
the JKT is still in force, whether it remains a precondition of
admission to higher education or goverment employment, whether it
incorporates a military training element leading to membership of the
militia reserve, and if so whether there are any provisions to
accommodate conscientious objectors.

30th December, 2008.

Notes


1
Horeman, B. & Stolwijk, M., Refusing to Bear Arms , War
Resisters International, London, 1998.




2
Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers
Global Report 2001
, p359




3
The Military Balance 2007 (International Institute for
Strategic Studies, London), p295.


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