On October 29, 2018, the Regional Commissioner for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Paul Makonda announced plans to form a task force to identify and arrest LGBTIQ people in the country and the public was urged to report anyone they suspect to be LGBTIQ. Over the weekend, the Government of Tanzania Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Makonda’s plans are his “personal opinion and not the position of the Government.
In response to the developments, a group of African activists has put out a statement and OutRight has signed on in solidarity. Statement below:
Statement of Solidarity with LGBTIQ People in Tanzania
On 29th October 2018, the Regional Commissioner for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Paul Makonda announced plans to form a 17-person task force to identify and arrest LGBTIQ people in the country.  This task force will allegedly be comprised of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, psychologists, and the police. Makonda has also asked members of the public to report anyone they suspect to be LGBTIQ, and he claims to have already received over 200 names.
Over the weekend, the Government of Tanzania Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Makonda’s plans are his “personal opinion and not the position of the Government.” However, the statement did not indicate what steps the government plans to take with the already collected names and information, nor has the Government of Tanzania demanded an end to the actions of the Regional Commissioner.
The failure of the Government of Tanzania to take action against Paul Makonda creates a culture of impunity for violence against LGBTIQ people. In Zanzibar, on the same day that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the above-mentioned statement, 10 gay men were arrested at UROA (Pongwe Beach) in the south region of Unguia Zanzibar.  Similar arrests of gay men have soared in recent months, often without substantial evidence or due process.
As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Governments of Tanzania and Zanzibar must meet their obligations to protect their citizens and fulfill the human rights of all people.
We, the undersigned human rights defenders, working to advance societies throughout the world that affirm the diversity of all people, human rights, choice, and agency, hereby demand the following:
To the Governments of Tanzania and Zanzibar:
- Immediately halt the actions of Paul Makonda and disband the task force, and ensure any information or data collected on suspected LGBTIQ persons is confidentially destroyed.
- Immediately release all individuals who have been arrested as a result of the crackdown and ensure their rights are respected, including due process and access to legal representation.
- Condemn the threat to publish names of suspected LGBTIQ people, all forms of hate speech, and all other efforts to incite violence.
- Disavow the use of pseudo-scientific “anal examinations” as evidence for same-sex behavior, and not subject any person to this or similar humiliating treatment.
To International Donors to Tanzania:
- The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and the World Bank should continuously assess the human rights environment of all countries, including Tanzania, as part of their due diligence when determining the eligibility, feasibility, and risks for funding. Crisis and violence contingency plans should be developed and budgeted, in close consultation with communities most affected by criminalization, stigma, discrimination and violence at country level.
- Global funders should proactively invest in human rights interventions and protections for LGBTIQ people and other key populations in Tanzania, and ensure that all funded services and programs in Tanzania are stigma-free. Future or supplementary funding should undergo due diligence checks that include ongoing assessment of the country’s human rights conditions.
- Member States, UN agencies, and other multilateral institutions should publicly condemn Paul Makonda’s hate speech and actions, and continue to raise awareness and increase pressure on the Government of Tanzania to take action.
- Embassies and Consulates in Tanzania should open their doors to LGBTIQ community members who are facing severe threats to safety and security.
- Make available emergency funding for the creation of safe houses across the country and legal assistance individuals facing arrest.
- Coordinate responses among other donors and maintain regular and timely communication with communities.
What civil society and community members can do on 7th November 2018: Global Day of Action for the Tanzanian LGBTIQ Community
Post a message of support on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media using: #IStandWithTanzaniaLGBT and a variation of the message: “I stand with the LGBTIQ community in Tanzania. The arrest and crackdown is unconstitutional and violates Tanzanian and international human rights law.”
Attend a rally in New York City: https://www.facebook.com/events/360038867895698/ Or organize a rally in your own city.
Contact your elected officials and ask what they are doing to protect the safety of LGBTIQ people living in Tanzania.
- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Tanzania has a duty to protect – not further endanger – LGBT people: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23817&...
- Community, Rights and Gender Advisory Group for the Global Fund: https://www.gnpplus.net/civil-society-calls-for-rapid-international-resp...
- Pan Africa ILGA: https://panafricailga.org/statement-tanzania-october-2018/
STATEMENT SIGNED BY:
- Samuel Matsikure
- Brian Kanyemba
- Henry Sakala
- Peter Njane
- Keletso Makofane
- Humphrey Melusi Ndondo
- Micheal Ighodaro
- Salum Abdalla
Organizations (continually updated):
Access Chapter 2
African Institute for Research and Sustainable Development
Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
Connect Community with Advocacy Empowerment Tanzania
Consolation East Africa
Dana Social Club
Fdn for Integrative AIDS Research (FIAR)
Injabulo Anti-Bullying Project
MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health & Rights
Namibia Diverse Women’s Association (NDWA)
Nyasa Rainbow Alliance (NRA)
One Love LGBTIQ+ Community
OutRight Action International
Purple Hand Africa
Right Not Rescue Trust of Namibia
Southern Africa Trans Forum (SATF)
Trans Research Education, Advovacy & Training (TREAT)
Transgender Intersex Androgynous Movement of Namibia (TIAMON)
Published on November 7, 2018 | OutRight Action International an LGBT human rights organization