As the crackdown on LGBT+ people continues in Tanzania, new reports indicate that up to ten men have been subjected to forceful anal exams to determine their sexuality. Meanwhile, Tanzania’s Interior Minister has maintained that the safety of Tanzanian’s LGBT+ community has not been threatened.
Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that ten men suspected of being gay had been arrested in Zanzibar, and are currently undergoing invasive physical examinations as a means of “proving” their sexuality.
Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa spoke to the newspaper about the organisation’s concerns for those arrested in Tanzania’s anti-gay crackdown:
“We now fear these men may be subjected to forced anal examination, the government’s method of choice for ‘proving’ same-sex sexual activity among men.”
“This appalling attack on Tanzanian people simply exercising their human rights shows the danger of inflammatory and discriminatory rhetoric at senior levels of government. This is a shocking blow following the Tanzanian government’s assurance that no one would be targeted and arrested because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.”
LGBT+ people continue to be persecuted in Tanzania after Paul Makonda, a Tanzanian Governor, called for people to report their LGBT+ relatives to authorities. Makonda later clarified that those arrested on suspicion of being LGBT+ would be forced to undergo conversion therapy.
Since Makonda’s appeal, over 10,000 people have been reported to the police, and Makonda took to Twitter to claim that up to 100 people have been taken into custody.
Despite these reports, Alphaxard Kangi Ndege Lugola, the country’s Interior Minister has maintained that Tanzania remains a safe country for LGBT+ people. Speaking to newspaper Habari Leo, Lugola said:
“Tanzania is safe and no one can say it is unsafe without having the same criteria – if anybody is threatened for his life then he should go to the police and I have not received any information from the police explaining the vulnerability of the people.”
British colonial era laws criminalise homosexuality 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”.
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