(Nairobi) – The Zimbabwean government should immediately stop persecuting members of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe.
On August 20, 2012, police officers entered and occupied the offices of GALZ in Harare for six hours, producing a warrant only after the GALZ lawyers demanded it. They confiscated documents, advocacy materials, and computers. GALZ advocates for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Zimbabwe.
“This latest police raid on the country’s leading LGBT group shows the government’s intolerance of the rights of Zimbabwe’s sexual and gender minorities,” said Monica Tabengwa, LGBT researcher at Human Rights Watch. “By intimidating and harassing members of GALZ, the authorities are violating their rights to freedom of expression and association.”
In the past decade, Zimbabwean authorities have intensified attacks against members of GALZ including intimidation, arbitrary arrests, and beatings. Mugabe, in office since 1980, has been at the forefront of anti-gay harassment, repeatedly using his office to insult and denigrate gay and lesbian Zimbabweans. He has vowed not to allow the inclusion of LGBT rights in Zimbabwe’s new constitution, which is being drafted.
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