I am Leonard Chimanda, a candidate for Master of Laws in Migration and Refugee Law at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I achieved my Bachelor of Laws at the same University in 2017. I am a Tanzanian by nationality and I have a passionate interest in migration and refugee law; no wonder I decided to choose pursuing my Master of Laws with specialization in migration and refugee law. During and before my Bachelor of Laws studies, I had volunteered to work with various humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Currently, I am a tutorial assistant in law at the University of Dodoma, Tanzania, albeit in a study leave pursuing Master of Laws studies.
The offer to work with the Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LERRN) in the summer of 2019 was an exceptional opportunity for me to put into practice my passion and what I have been learning in my Master of Laws classes. During the LERRN project I partnered with Stefanie Morris, a student from the University of Ottawa, Canada. The LERRN project tasked me and Stefanie to conduct research on the Legal Framework governing refugees in Tanzania to determine the extent to which the legal framework protects refugees in the country. In so doing we analyzed various laws ranging from national and international. We also made interviews with various relevant national and international organizations dealing with refugees. The research briefly found out that Tanzania’s practice in relation to protecting refugees falls below the international standards and in most cases the country goes contrary to its own laws, especially the Refugees Act of 1998. In most cases the State authorities rely on the National Refugee Policy of 2003, which is more restrictive and unfriendly towards refugees. Among other things, the research recommends strengthened measures towards the localization of refugee management in Tanzania.
I recommend the LERRN project as one among the appropriate forum through which refugee treatments in various countries in the world can be improved. I am delighted to continue with my passion and works on humanitarian assistance especially for refugees and migrants and it is my wholehearted wish to keep in touch with LERRN.