CHAPTER 37
REFUGEES ACT

[PRINCIPAL LEGISLATION]

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

   Section

Title

PART I
PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS

   1.   Short title.

   2.   Application.

   3.   Interpretation.

   4.   Definition of refugee, cessation, exclusion.

PART II
ADMINISTRATION PROVISIONS

   5.   Director of Refugee Services.

   6.   Establishment of a Committee.

   7.   Functions of the Committee.

   8.   Ad-hoc Committee.

   9.   Determination of status.

PART III
PROVISIONS APPLYING TO REFUGEES GENERALLY

   10.   Places of entry or departure and routes.

   11.   Surrender of weapons.

   12.   Permit to remain in Tanzania.

   13.   Detention and slaughter of animals.

   14.   Possession of vehicle of asylum seeker or refugee.

PART IV
SPECIAL PROVISIONS WHICH MAY BE APPLIED TO REFUGEES

   15.   The Refugees' Trust Fund.

   16.   Designated area.

   17.   Requirement to reside in a designated area.

   18.   Control of designated area.

   19.   Administration of a designated area.

   20.   Restriction on persons entering designated area or addressing asylum seekers or refugees in such areas.

   21.   Powers of competent authorities outside their areas.

PART V
MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

   22.   Mode of giving rule, order or direction.

   23.   Communication between the Minister, the Director and competent authority and asylum seeker or refugee.

   24.   Offences and penalties.

   25.   Prevention, arrest, search, seizure and investigation.

   26.   Use of force to effect arrest.

   27.   Detention of asylum seeker or refugee.

   28.   Deportation of asylum seeker or refugee.

   29.   Protection of bona fide act.

   30.   Registration of asylum seekers and refugees.

   31.   Education for refugees.

   32.   Work permit for refugees.

   33.   Payment of taxes.

   34.   Voluntary repatriation.

   35.   Family re-union.

   36.   Resettlement.

   37.   [Repeal of Act No. 2 of 1966.]

CHAPTER 37
THE REFUGEES ACT

An Act to make provision for the enactment of the Refugees Act, National Eligibility Committee, asylum seekers and refugee administration and to repeal the Refugee (Control) Act and for connected matters.

[15th April, 1999]
[G.N. No. 107 of 1999]

Act No. 9 of 1998

PART I
PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS (ss 1-4)

1.   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Refugees Act.

2.   Application

   This Act shall apply throughout the United Republic of Tanzania.

3.   Interpretation

   In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires–

   "area" means when a competent authority is a Regional Commissioner, the region of which he has the charge; and when the competent authority is a District Commissioner, the district of which he has the charge;

    "asylum" means shelter a granted by the Government to persons qualifying for refugee status in accordance with the provisions of this Act;

   "asylum seeker" means a person seeking refugee status in accordance with the provisions of this Act and in accordance with other International Conventions relating to refugee matters of which Tanzania has acceded to;

   "authorised officer" means the Director of Refugee Services, refugee officer, a settlement officer or immigration officer;

   "Committee" means the National Eligibility Committee established under section 6 of this Act;

   "competent authority" means a Regional Commissioner and for the purpose of sections 10, 11, 13 and 14 includes a District Commissioner;

   "dependant" has the meaning ascribed to it by the Immigration Act, 1995;

   "designated areas" means an area declared as such by the Minister or competent authority under subsections (1), (2) and (3) of section 16;

   "Director" means the Director of Refugee Services appointed under section 5 of this Act;

   "family" includes husband or wife or a lawfully recognised spouse, children below 18 years and any person living with the asylum seeker or refugee as a dependant;

   "lock up" means any facility for holding or detaining remanded asylum seekers and refugees within the designated areas;

   "Minister" means the Minister for the time being responsible for refugees matters;

   "OAU" means the Organisation of African Unity;

   "reception area" means an area declared as such by the Minister under section 16(1);

   "Refugee Officer" means an officer responsible for refugees matters under this Act and answerable to the Director;

   "refugee settlement" means a refugee settlement established in accordance with section 16(3);

   "settlement officer" means a person appointed to be in charge of a designated area;

   "Trust" means Tanzania Refugee Trust established under section 15 of this Act;

   "UN" means the United Nations;

   "UNHCR" means United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

4.   Definition of refugee, cessation, exclusion

   (1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (3) and (4) this section and for and the purposes of this Act a refugee is any person who–

   (a)   is outside the country of his nationality or if he has no nationality, the country of his former habitual residence, because he has or had a well founded fear of persecution by reason of his race, religion, nationality membership of a particular social group or political opinion and is unable or, because of such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of the Government of the country of his nationality, or, if he has no nationality, to return to the country of his former habitual residence;

   (b)   owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his place of habitual residence in order to seek refuge in another place outside his country of origin or nationality;

   (c)   belongs to a group of persons which by notice in the Government Gazette has been declared to be refugees for he has or had a well founded fear of persecution by reason of his race, the reasons set out in paragraphs (a) and (b) above.

   (2) In the case of a person who has several nationalities the term "a country of which he is a national" shall mean each of the countries of which he is a national, and a person shall not be deemed to be lacking the protection of the country of which he is a national if, without any valid reason based on well-founded fear, he has not availed himself of the protection of one of the countries of which he is a national.

   (3) A person shall cease to be considered to be a refugee for the purposes of this Act if–

   (a)   he has voluntarily re-availed himself of the protection of the country of his nationality; or

   (b)   having lost his nationality he has voluntarily re-acquired it; or

   (c)   he has acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his new nationality; or

   (d)   he has voluntarily re-established himself in the country which he remained owing to fear of persecution; or

   (e)   he can no longer because the circumstances in connection with which he was recognised as a refugee having ceased to exist, continue to refuse to avail himself of the protection of the country of his nationality, or if he has no nationality the country of his former habitual residence;

   (f)   he has committed a serious non-political crime outside his country of refugee after his admission to that country as a refugee; or

   (g)   he has seriously infringed the purposes and objectives of the 1969 OAU Refugee convention governing the "Specific Aspects for Refugee Problems in Africa";

   (h)   he has involved himself in subversive activities whilst enjoying asylum in Tanzania.

   (4) A person shall not be considered a refugee for the purposes of this Act if–

   (a)   he has committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity, as defined in International instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes; or

   (b)   he committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to his admission in Tanzania as a refugee; or

   (c)   he has been guilty of any act contrary to the purposes and principles of the OAU and/or UN;

   (d)   he has already been granted refugee status or asylum in another country prior to his entry to Tanzania provided that a person qualifying for resettlement or family re-unification in accordance with the provisions of this Act or a person arriving from a territory where there has been a serious breach of peace, shall have his application for asylum considered;

   (e)   prior to his entry into Tanzania he has transited through one or more countries and is unable to show reasonable cause for failure to seek asylum in those countries, provided that a person who has transited through a country or countries where there is a serious serviced breach of peace.

PART II
ADMINISTRATION PROVISIONS (ss 5-9)

5.   Director of Refugee Services

   (1) There shall be a Director of Refugee Services, who shall be appointed by the President.

   (2) The functions of the Director shall be the following–

   (a)   to convene meetings of the National Eligibility Committee;

   (b)   to receive applications for refugees status and submit them to the Committee or the Ad-hoc Committee;

   (c)   to register applications for refugee status and maintain a register status and maintain a register of recognised refugees. Alterations to any of those registers can only be done upon approval of the Minister;

   (d)   to co-ordinate the provision of adequate facilities and services for the reception and care of refugees and asylum seekers within Tanzania;

   (e)   to ensure that an applicant for refugee status is not ordered to leave the country before his claim for refugee status has been decided upon in accordance with the provisions of this Act;

   (f)   to receive applications for a resettlement of refugees in Tanzania from other countries of asylum, to submit them before the Committee and to keep all records thereof;

   (g)   to implement and communicate with applicants the decisions of the Minister;

   (h)   to exercise any other functions and duties that may be assigned to him by the Minister in terms of this Act.

   (3) No destruction, variation or alteration of any record made or kept under the terms of this section shall be except with approval of the Minister and shall be published in the Government Gazette.

6.   Establishment of a Committee

   (1) There is established a National Eligibility Committee which shall consist of the following members–

   (a)   the Director;

   (b)   not less than seven other members appointed by the Minister from the following departments in consultation with their respective Ministers–

      (i)   the Director of Public Prosecutions, who shall be the Chairman;

      (ii)   the President's Officer;

      (iii)   the Prime Minister's Office;

      (iv)   the Chief Minister's office;

      (v)   the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation;

      (vi)   the Inspector-General of Police; and

      (vii)   the Director of Immigration Services.

   (2) The Officer of the UNHCR Representative in Tanzania shall be invited to attend the meetings of the Committee as an observer.

   (3) The Minister may, when he considers it necessary, co-opt for a specified period not more than two additional members to the Committee but co-opted members have no right of vote.

   (4) The Committee shall elect annually by simple majority a Vice-Chairman from amongst its members. The Committee shall in the absence of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, elect by a simple majority from among its permanent members an acting Chairman.

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