The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) advocacy meeting was convened by the Legal and Human Rights Centre on 29th March, 2017, and its purpose was raising awareness of the APRM system to CSO’s and Institutions in different parts of Tanzania including TEF, THRDC, TAMWA, TAWLA, KIWOHEDE, TANLAP, TYVA and the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRGG). Apart from raising awareness, the meeting also aimed at reviving the APRM system, which seems to be forgotten by most of the CSO’s.
The APRM is a self-monitoring instrument in which member states evaluate each other’s quality of governance. APRM was established in 2003 by the New Partnership for Africa (NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee (HSGIC). APRM membership is voluntary. A country formally joins the APRM upon signing and depositing the Memorandum of Understanding. Tanzania signed the APRM Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2004, and parliament ratified it in 2005 and is among the twenty nine (29) countries which have been reviewed.
By joining the APRM, member states agree to voluntarily and independently review their compliance with African and international governance commitments. APRM Performance and progress are measured in four thematic areas including democracy and political governance, economic governance and management, corporate governance, and socio-economic development. The overall purpose is to improve the governance of African states which includes as well improvements of their commitment to human rights.
During the APRM review, there is a stage in which a country review visit is made by the members of an APRM Team, this stage is very important as it involves the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, the private sector, civil society and media. This is where CSO’s can put their recommendations.
As part of way forward in reviving the APRM system in Tanzania, Special Secretariat comprised of five members was formed during the meeting in which UNA Tanzania was among the members. The secretariat main goal is to consult the APRM host Ministry (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) through the APRM coordinator to know the position of the APRM system in the country, then prepare a report which will be shared by different national CSO’s, and educating the community on the system and its significance.
APRM is an innovate instrument that human rights NGOs / CSOs can use to make their voice heard, and this can be capitalized and emphasized from the country review reports for the participating countries since there is no direct way to claim human rights within the framework of the APRM.