Introduction to LHRC
The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) is a private, autonomous, voluntary non-governmental, non-partisan and non-profit sharing organization 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.
The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) was established in 1995 out of experiences and lessons generated from The Tanzania Legal Education Trust (TANLET) and the Faculty of Law of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). The founders of the LHRC were young lawyers who had participated in the Legal Aid Committee of the Faculty of Law of the University of Dar-es-salaam and its legal Aid camps. They were somehow disillusioned by the nature of the State and its policies which were increasingly departing from the interests of majority of the people. They observed increasing human rights violations such as, land evictions of Maasai pastoralists, human rights abuses to the people of Hanang whose land had been acquired by the government and turned into big wheat farms of NAFCO. There also were alarming numbers of citizens being in conflict with the law mainly due to ignorance of the law. The human rights camps started to build awareness on Human Rights issues as clearly such issues were not known. TANLET founding members who were also public servants working as lecturers with the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) thought of the risks involved in challenging the State, hence the idea of setting an independent human rights centre.
Since then, 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
Broad Objectives: For the LHRC to be able to forge its way in the realization 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 clinics.
Mission Vision Objectives
Since its inception in 1995, the LHRC has been growing steadily keeping up with a pace of social and economic development of the country. It works throughout Tanzania through its outreach services and human rights violation monitoring activities. LHRC has the capacity to influence policies, laws and issues of practice at the national level, while obtaining its mandate and support from the grassroots.
Vision: The Legal and Human Rights Centre envisages a JUST and EQUITABLE society.
Mission: The LHRC is a non-partisan, non-profit sharing, non-governmental organization striving to empower the public, promote, reinforce and safeguard human rights and good governance in Tanzania through legal and civic education and information; sound legal research and advise; monitoring and follow up of human rights violations; and advocacy for reforms of policies, laws and practices to conform to international human rights standards.
Target Groups: The target groups or beneficiaries of the Legal and human Rights Centre (LHRC) include the indigent, women, children, youths, men, people with disabilities, politicians, policy makers, legislators, law enforcers, community leaders, influential people, civil society organizations and the general public.
Strategic Direction: LHRC has identified five key strategic objectives of which achievements will lead LHRC towards realizing an equitable and just society:
The five purposes are aimed:
- A citizen Centered constitution
- Improved laws, policies, and practices that are human rights sensitive -Justice Administration system engaged for reform -Advocacy on legal and policy frameworks improved in conformity to human rights principles.
- Informed and Empowered Public
- Improved monitoring of companies compliance to regional and international standards with regards to economic, social and, environmental rights.
- Efficient, effective, relevant and sustainable LHRC
Values: LHRC has a number of core values that guide the way the members, the board, staff and partners relate and operate. The values of the LHRC are:
- Professionalism; and
- Voluntarism and volunteerism.
- Promote respect and observance of human rights and democracy;
- Promote respect and observance of the rule of law and due processes;
- Promote consumer protection;
- Create networks with public interest and human rights organizations, non-governmental organizations, universities, relevant research institutions, religious associations and legal associations’ societies;
- Promote public awareness in the field of environmental protection;
- Provide (on request) consultancy services to government and non-governmental organizations provided that it is within the spirit of the social and educational objectives of the LHRC;
- Organize and sponsor conferences, seminars, workshops, meetings and such other undertakings with a view to promoting the social and educational objectives of the LHRC;
- Raise funds for the purposes of the LHRC on such terms as are compatible with the autonomy of the LHRC and within the spirit of its social and educational objectives;
- Publish articles and various publications on legal education, society and human rights.
- PROVIDED that the objectives of the LHRC shall not extend to putting up or supporting candidates for government or local authority elections which would make it a political party within the meaning of a political party as stipulated in the Political Parties Act, 1992.
Supporters of the Constitution Unit.
The following are sponsors of the LHRC Constitution activities; these are