Court Finds Application Inadmissible in Case against Policies against Pregnant, Married Students


By: Sallie Moppert

Impunity Watch News Staff Writer

ARUSHA, Tanzania – The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (“ACHPR”) determined that  the application regarding several human rights violations that occurred as a result of Tanzania’s policy on pregnant or married female students in schools was inadmissible.

Schools in Tanzania have had the power to expel students who were married or became pregnant since the 1960’s. Photo courtesy of The Borgen Project.

Since the 1960’s, schools in Tanzania have had the power to refuse educating pregnant students. Tanzanian President John Magufuli stated that no pregnant student would ever attend or be allowed to return to school while he is in office, claiming that their presence would “encourage other girls to get pregnant” or be too distracting for students to concentrate while in school. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reported in 2021 that approximately one in five girls in Tanzania fifteen years and older have been or were married before the age of eighteen.

Equality Now, a human rights organization, along with Tike Mwambipile, brought suit against the state of Tanzania, arguing that education was a right for all girls, regardless of whether or not they were married or had a child, and this policy was discriminatory against them.

One of the primary reasons for determining that the application was inadmissible was that there are additional applications for similar relief pending with other entities. On 29 July 2021, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare (the “Committee”) of the informed the AFCHPR that it had received a similar application and the matter was pending determination. The Committee further informed the Court that it had already declared the application as admissible and that it would hold a hearing of the case in its upcoming Session.

The Committee ultimately decided that Tanzania had committed several human rights violations, including discrimination, right to education, right to health and health services, and protection against child abuse and torture. As the AFCHPR found that the matter had already been adjudicated and settled, it found the application to be inadmissible for further deliberation.


For further information, please see:

African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights – The Matter of Tike Mwambipile and Equality Now v. United Republic of Tanzania – Dec. 1, 2022

Equality Now – African Court On Human And Peoples’ Rights To Give Verdict On Case Challenging Tanzania’s Ban On Pregnant Girls And Adolescent Mothers Attending School – Nov. 30, 2022

Equality Now – Girls in Tanzania Who Marry Or Become Pregnant Should Be Allowed To Attend School – Oct. 5, 2022

The Borgen Project – Educating Pregnant Students in Tanzania – Sept. 5, 2017

Author: Garrett Bellows