Thursday, 8 November 2018
I thank the Senator for his comments. The Government places the protection of human rights at the centre of our foreign policy. It pervades everything that we do in that area. Officials in my Department will continue to closely monitor the situation in Tanzania and across east Africa where we have increasing concerns about the number of restrictions being placed on free speech, freedom of association, the preservation of a free press and the infringement of human rights. That tightening of civil society space is of concern to us all. We will continue to work closely with the partners in civil society, including in-country partners, to support efforts to protect and promote rights and ensure that the voices of those who are vulnerable are heard and amplified. This is a sensitive area of engagement and it requires a long-term commitment to support partners operating on the front line or protecting and promoting human rights in what can be difficult environments.