MENSCHENRECHTE (HumanRights) 3000
P. O. Box 5102
“HUMAN RIGHTS 3000” Working Group
uranium-network.org demands Release of
8 Tanzanian Cooperants detained in Malawi
On December 22, 2016, a
group of 8 Tanzanians interested in environmental issues as
well as farmers from
Namtumbo /Songea area in the South of Tanzania were arrested
in Malawi. The
members of the Group belong to Tanzanian NGOs which are
cooperants of German
Human Rights NGO MENSCHENRECHTE 3000 e.V., Working Group
working on environmental and Human Rights issues.
The cooperants were
travelling to get a first hand impression of uranium mining
and its impacts at
Kayelekera Uranium Mine, owned by Australian PALADIN, in the
north of Malawi.
3000 e.V., Working Group
uranium-network.org is seriously concerned due to the
previous pre-judgement by
media and experiences with the breech of basic rules of
law that the group of 8
may not face a fair trial following the rules of law.
The NGO is
asking for immediate and
unconditional release of the 8 Tanzanians, and requests
that their Human and
Civil rights are respected.
Malawian media had
rapidly created a hype around the
case, spoke – without a trace of proof – of “espionage” and
detainees as “spies”.
Diplomatic efforts of
Tanzania to achieve an amicable
solution and a release of the eight detained persons has not
be successful so
Russian state-owned company
ROSATOM plans to build a uranium mine in the home area of
the eight detained,
in the south of Tanzania, the Mkuju River Uranium Project.
Thus, the NGOs and
their members are interested to inform themselves and their
about uranium mining and its impacts.
up to now, activities are much less aimed at convicting the
detained persons of
breaking a law, but rather aimed at preventing citizens from
themselves first-hand about uranium mining and its impacts,
to undermine the
right to inform themselves and – last not least – to silence
critical of uranium mining.
The charges for the 8
detained have repeatedly been changed (at first
„trespassing“, then „espionage“)
now „carrying out a reconnaissance operation without
According to Malawian mining
law, a license would be needed collect information re:
The Malawians in
accompaniment of the group were
After their arrest,
the 8 Tanzanians were exposed to
different kinds of harassment: Access of lawyers was gravely
times completely forbidden, communication between detainees
and their lawyers
was restricted to a
very short time and
only under the surveillance of heavily armed police who also
conversations between lawyers and detainees.
The conditions of
detainment are deplorable – too
little food, bad hygienic conditions, places to sleep have
to be ‘bought’ from
other inmates due to the overcrowding of the detainment
facility – although the
detained have not been condemned to any penalty.
Basic rules of law as
well as basic Human and Civil
rights have been violated.
Organisation FRONTLINE DEFENDERS has picked up the case
and issued an URGENT ACTION.
It took Malawian
authorities 3 weeks (from 22.
December 2016 up to 2 days before the first court session on
January 17, 2017),
to compile a one-page ‘charge sheet’.
On January 17, 2017, a
first court session in court
took place at Karonga Magistrate Court.
The detainees had been
denied food for 24 hours when appearing
Authorities had tried
to motion them to plead ”guilty”
– which the detained refused.
Things erupted when
the detained asked that a
Tanzanian lawyer present at the court should be translating
for them since they
did not understand the translator provided by the court.
translator was found.
The court adjourned
and the next session is scheduled
for January 26, 2017.
An attempt to get the
detained persons liberated on
bail did not work out due to the conditions set by the
The lawyers were
harassed after the court session by
police and other services, they were followed around, had
photos taken of
themselves and their vehicle. The Tanzanian lawyer was
especially afraid for
her personal security.
Some additonal Background Information
Uranium Mine in Malawi – Kayelekera
PALADIN owns and operated
Kayelekera Uranium Mine in the north of Malawi.
Since February 2014,
according to the company website,
the mine has been put on “care and maintenance”
(‘mothballed’) due to the low
price of uranium.
In an EJOLT-Mission, environmental issues at the mine had
been researched in
2014 / 2015, specifically in regard to a planned release of
contaminated water which was about to overflow due to heavy
rains in the area.
Comprehensive information on
Uranium Mine in Tanzania
The 8 detained persons
originate from bordering Namtumbo
/ Songea area in South Tanzania.
Russian state nuclear
company ROSATOM and UraniumOne
plan to build via their subsidiary MANTRA, formerly a
Australian company, too, a
uranium mine, Mkuju River Uranium Project, which will be
located within an
excised part of World Heritage Site Selous Game Rerserve.
Local and national NGOs as well as international WWF and
organisations are seriously concerned about or opposed to
Malawi Border Dispute
Tanzania and Malawi
have a longstanding border dispute
concerning Lake Malawi area; the (verbal) dispute erupted
lately again over the
ownership of oil and gas resources found under Lake Malawi.
For any questions do
not hesitate to contact