At the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Regional Planning Meeting in Johannesburg in March 2019, civil society from Tanzania was heartened to know that the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children and the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) committed to meet the U.S. Government’s minimum requirement to prohibit forced anal exams, an unscientific and deeply unethical method of seeking evidence to prosecute people for consensual homosexual sex.
Delegates from the Government of Tanzania attending the PEPFAR meeting shared a Ministry of Health Circular released in January 2019 (Kumb. Na. CGA.16/209/01C), which clarifies the legal parameters for implementing anal exams, i.e., under court order from a magistrate. However, the Circular falls short of prohibiting the procedure, which the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has described as a form of torture.
We, the undersigned Tanzanians and concerned citizens of other countries, call upon the Government of Tanzania to fulfill its commitments to PEPFAR and to Tanzanians who face persecution on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity by revising the current Circular and fully prohibiting this harmful procedure.
The Circular must be revised and should include the following key provisions:
- Anal exams are unequivocally unscientific, and do not provide a medical basis for establishing that an individual is homosexual.
- Anal exams are not a medical procedure, and therefore cannot and should not be conducted by health care or other medical providers, even under a court order.
- Conducting anal exams is a violation of medical ethics and the “do no harm principle”; further, sharing results from an anal exam with law enforcement breaches patient confidentiality.
The revised Circular must include the above three provisions to immediately cease the practice, which places people accused of homosexuality at great risk, emotional distress, and fear.
The Government of Tanzania and TACAIDS should also actively work to revise Section 63 of the Criminal Procedure Act to eliminate provisions that allow for the use of medical procedures such as anal exams to establish evidence of homosexuality. We request similar guidance or circulars to be created by the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure that the practice is fully prohibited.
Endorsed by (continually updated):
|Action For Social Justice International|
|African American Office of Gay Concerns|
|Art and Advocacy Northern Tanzania|
|Bridge initiative organization|
|Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)|
|Community Health Education Service and Advocacy (CHESA)|
|Council for Global Equality|
|Diversity Support Programme (DSP)|
|EATHAN – East Africa Trans Health & Advocacy Network|
|FHI 360 Botswana|
|Free state Rainbow seeds LGBTIQ|
|Ganymede Institute for Diversity & Inclusion|
|GAYa NUSANTARA Foundation|
|gift of hope foundation|
|gift of hope sober house|
|Health Promotion and Advocacy Tanzania|
|HIV Justice Network|
|House of empowerment and awareness in Tanzania|
|Human Rights Watch|
|MALINDI DESIRE INITIATIVE|
|MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health & Rights|
|Mwanza team for Advocacy and public health|
|National Working Positive Coalition|
|Pwani trans initiative|
|Soa Aids Nederland|
|Southern Highlands Advocacy Initiativies|
|Tanzania Trans initiatives|
|Transwomen Group Lake Zone Tanzania|
|United States People living with HIV Caucus|
|Zambia Sex Workers Alliance|