US Condemns “Escalating Attacks” Against LGBTs By Tanzania Government After Arrests Of Ten Gay Men

Via press release from the State Department:

The United States government is deeply concerned over escalating attacks and legislative actions by the Government of Tanzania that violate civil liberties and human rights, creating an atmosphere of violence, intimidation, and discrimination. We are troubled by the continued arrests and harassment of marginalized persons, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and others who seek to exercise their rights to freedom of speech, association and assembly. Legislation is being used to restrict civil liberties for all.

The deteriorating state of human rights and rule of law in Tanzania inhibits development, economic prosperity, peace, and security. We call on Tanzanian authorities to act decisively to safeguard the rights of civil society organizations, human rights defenders, journalists, health workers, political activists, and all people in accordance with the Tanzanian constitution, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and the country’s international and regional obligations and commitments.

The Independent reports:

Ten men have been arrested for being gay on the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania, after police received a tip-off from members of the public about a same-sex marriage taking place. The group were arrested when police officers raided a party at Pongwe Beach, according to Amnesty International.

Six others at the event fled. Amnesty International said that the men were arrested for allegedly carrying out a gay marriage, with police saying that they found the men sitting in pairs “two by two”.

The arrested men are currently being held at Chakwal police station on the island of Unguja, despite no charges having been brought against them. Fears are rising about the treatment of LGBT+ people in Tanzania after the regional commissioner of the country’s economic capital Dar es Salaam called on the public to report people suspected of being gay.

As I’ve previously reported, Dar Es Salaam governor Paul Makonda [photo above] has urged the public to turn in the names of LGBT locals, so that “my team will get them.” Last week it was reported that thousands of LGBT Tanzanians have gone into hiding after Makonda received hundreds of names. Also last week the US State Department issued a formal warning to LGBT Americans living there and the European Union recalled its ambassador.