The purpose of this legal research paper is to initiate debate in the Tanzanian government and civil society about the constitutionality of arbitrary round-ups and detentions of street children.
Since September 2001, Tanzania has witnessed the arrest and detention of more htan 45 street children during the course of four major round-ups by police in the Arusha Municipality. Police round-ups of street children as "vagrants" has been the simplified response of the District Commissioner to the increasingly complex and urgent issue of street children, justified on the basis of the dated and repressive 1944 Townships (Removal of Undesirable Persons) Ordinance. In fact, the constitutionality and appropriateness of police round-ups of street children was challenged in both Europe and South America, and resulted in teh revocation of unconstitutional laws on vagrancy and begging. As such, despite the fact that 50% of Tanzania's population is comprised of children, the legal protection provided to them is disturbingly incomplete, contradictory and in violation of both human and child rights.
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