Minister For Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney Condemns Tanzanian Gay Purge

The Tánaiste has called the persecution of LGBT+ people in Tanzania "shocking".

Image of hands gripping the bars of a prison. Simon Coveney has condemned the Tanzanian crackdown on LGBT+ people.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney has outlined his concerns over Tanzania’s anti-LGBT+ crackdown. On Twitter Coveney said:

“We’ve had a positive development partnership with Tanzania for decades and still do, committing significant financial supports to worthy projects annually. The targeting of (the) LGBT community is shocking and I’ve written to Govt. to outline my concerns.”

Coveney’s comments emerge after a Tanzanian governor announced plans to round-up and arrest LGBT+ people living in the East African country. Paul Makonda, the governor of Dar Es Salaam, told reporters last week that he has arranged a special task-force to conduct a country-wide purge of LGBT+ people. Makonda also encouraged Tanzanian people to report their LGBT+ relatives to authorities.

Announcing the anti-gay crackdown Makonda said:

“Give me their names. My ad hoc team will get their hands on them next Monday.”

Makonda continued:

“If you know of a homosexual, you must report them to a police officer, no one can escape.”

Since the governor’s announcement, over 5000 people suspected of being members of the LGBT+ community have been reported to Tanzanian police.

The LGBT+ community in Tanzania continue to live in fear as there have been reports of people being attacked by large groups in the street.

Hugh Lane

British colonial era laws criminalise homosexuality in Tanzania so LGBT+ people are forced to hide their identities. Men who have sex with other men may face life sentences in prison. 12 men were arrested in Dar Es Salaam last year after they were accused of engaging in gay sex and “promoting homosexuality”.

Amnesty International has condemned the Tanzanian anti-gay crackdown and has called for its immediate abandonment. Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty’s regional director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes said: “It is extremely regrettable that Tanzania has chosen to take such a dangerous path in its handling of an already marginalized group of people. The idea of this task force must be immediately abandoned as it only serves to incite hatred among members of the public.”

A petition has been launched to call on the UK to review foreign aid sent to Tanzania as a means of protesting the anti-gay taskforce. As of writing this article, almost 100 people have signed this petition.

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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