The European Union joins HelpAge International in promoting and protecting older women's rights in Tanzania

Monday, 15 June, 2015, Mwanza: Today the EU Delegation to Tanzania and the EAC, together with HelpAge International and the Magu Poverty Eradication and Rehabilitation Center (MAPERECE), launch a project to Promote and Protect Older Women's Rights in Tanzania.

The project encompasses various levels of community interventions and will be implemented in Magu. It will also work with national policy and law-makers to ensure that rights of women at all stages of their life are protected, as provided in national and international human rights frameworks and instruments. It is expected that over a two-year period, the project will generate good practice lessons that can be shared at the national level.

This launch coincides with the commemoration of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), a day designated by the UN on every 15th of June to bring together senior citizens, their caregivers, human rights organizations, governments, development partners and the wider society to combat the problem of elder abuse under a theme. The theme this year is: "ENDING ELDER ABUSE IS A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY, PLAY YOUR PART."

‘'WEAAD enables society to voice its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted to people in their later life with consequences to their Health and Human Rights. It is an issue which deserves the attention of leaders at local, national and international level,'' says HelpAge International Country Director Ms Amleset Tewodros.

The European Union supports gender equality and women's empowerment throughout its actions in Tanzania. In addition to actions that support women's equal access to political and public life, land and farming, and employment opportunities, last year the EU chose to target its support for civil society action against harmful traditional practices, notably child marriage, female genital mutilation, and witchcraft-related killings.

The project we are launching today will do precisely that, by enhancing the protection of older women from witchcraft-related killings and violence. Ending all forms of violence due to age or gender is a collective responsibility, and citizens and governments alike need to play their part.

"The project we are launching today is an excellent example of how the European Union, together with its partners, can concretely help to ensure that women's rights are protected throughout all stages of their lives,'' says Mr Eric Beaume, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation in Tanzania.

In Tanzania the number of older people abused especially due to witchcraft allegations is on the increase. According to the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), a total of 320 people, the majority of them older women, have been killed as a result of witchcraft allegations in the first six months 2014 (Tanzania Human rights report 2014). Such victimization of older women is most common in northeastern Tanzania, particularly in Mwanza, Shinyanga, Simiyu, and Geita.

For more information please contact:

Susanne Mbise - EU Press & Information Officer /0753045795

Joseph Mbasha - Rights Programme Manager /0715883539

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