Inter-Parliamentary Union to Investigate Tanzania’s Alleged Violations of Human Rights against Opposition Leader Tundu Lissu


Multilateral body accepts application from the former MP, highlights concerns over alleged abuses and proposes that an IPU Committee delegation accompany him upon return to Tanzania

LONDON, 10 February 2020 – An application brought by Tundu Lissu, a Tanzanian opposition leader who narrowly survived a 2017 assassination attempt in which he was shot 16 times, has been accepted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and adopted for further investigation.

In citing the application filed on behalf of Mr. Lissu, which included claims of threats, harassment, and serious acts of intimidation in response to his vocal criticism of the Government of President John Magufuli, the IPU Committee stated that it is “extremely concerned” by the attempt on the complainant’s life, and that they are keen to receive answers as to why security guards were removed and CCTV footage erased at the scene of the assassination attempt.

“We are pleased with the decision of the IPU Committee to adopt this very important application from Mr. Lissu, as there is a desperate need to investigate and shine a light on human rights abuses taking place under the increasingly repressive regime of President Magufuli,” said Robert Amsterdam, the founding partner of Amsterdam & Partners LLP, which represents Mr. Lissu on a pro bono basis. “As more information and evidence come to light in this case, international pressure must mount on the ruling CCM party to respect local and international law and uphold the basic human rights of all Tanzanians.”

According to the IPU Committee decision, “the National Assembly of Tanzania has a vested interest in seeing to it that justice is fully rendered and that Mr. Lissu’s physical integrity is protected, all the more so given that it concerns in this case an attack on the life of the then chief whip of the official opposition.”

Following the assassination attempt, Mr. Lissu was also unlawfully stripped of his parliamentary seat in June 2019. The IPU Committee decision declares it is troubled by this event, and will be seeking an explanation from the parliamentary authorities on the reasons and grounds for the revocation.

The decision to adopt Mr. Lissu’s application (CASE TZA-04) was resolved during the 161st session of the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 20-30 January 2020.

Speaking on behalf of his client, Amsterdam expressed gratitude toward the IPU Committee and in particular for their proposal that a delegation be formed to safely accompany the former MP as he travels home.

Amsterdam & Partners LLP is an international law firm with offices in London and Washington DC. More information is available at