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 gay men 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 any suspected gay men, 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 indicate clear actions 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 men accused of homosexuality were arrested at UROA (Pongwe Beach) in the south region of Unguia Zanzibar.  Similar arrests of LGBTIQ people 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.
References: https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/report-them-me-tanzanian-official-asks-residents-help-hunt-gays-n929741  https://www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/Tanzania-Government-clarifies–gay-crackdown–report/1840340-4836670-c20xiaz/index.html  https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/11/tanzania-10-men-arrested-in-zanzibar-for-being-gay/
- 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&LangID=E
- Community, Rights and Gender Advisory Group for the Global Fund: https://www.gnpplus.net/civil-society-calls-for-rapid-international-response-to-the-human-rights-crisis-in-tanzania/
- Pan Africa ILGA: https://panafricailga.org/statement-tanzania-october-2018/
STATEMENT SIGNED BY:
Humphrey Melusi Ndondo
Organizations (156 Signatures as of 11/12/18):
A.G.E Advocate for Grassroot Empowerment
Access Chapter 2
Action SIDA Comores
African Institute for Research and Sustainable Development
Anwernekenhe National Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander HIV Alliance
APDES – Agência Piaget para o Desenvolvimento
AS – Center for the Empowerment Youth of people who are living with HIV and AIDS
Association Affirmative Action
Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM)
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations
Avenir Jeune de l’Ouest (AJO)
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
Connect Community with Advocacy and Empowement Tanzania
Consolation East Africa
Czech AIDS Help Association
Dana Social Club
DANA Social Group
Denis Nzioka News Agency and Service
Desmond M. Tutu Professor in Public Health and Human Rights, Johns Hopkins University
E. R AZRIEL
Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM)
Eurasian Key Populations Health Network
Fdn for Integrative AIDS Research (FIAR)
Federation Associations of patients Serbia – SUPS
Feminist, Human Rights and Communications Activist
Free State Rainbow Seeds
Friends of Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance
Friends of Rainka Zambia
Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, TB and Malaria
GAT Grupo de Ativistas em Tratamentos
Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance
Grupo Génesis Panamá +
Heartland Alliance International
HIV and Tuberculosis Response
HIV Justice Network
HIV Power Shift
House of Blahnik, Inc.
House of Culture for Human Diversity
Housing Works, Inc.
Human Rights Watch
Humanist Association of Ghana
Humanity First Cameroon
Humraz Male health society
Iloilo Pride Team
Injabulo Anti-Bullying Project
Innovative Options for Behavioural
Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development (ICAD)
International Socialist Organization, Syracuse Branch
Intersex Community Zimbabwe
Ladder for rural development organization
Lee’s Rig Hub
Les Adolescents contre le SIDA (SID’ADO)
Lesbian Intersex Trans and other Extensions (LITE)
LGBT Rights Ghana
Men Against AIDS Youth Group
Micro Rainbow International
MPact – Global Action on Gay Men’s Health & Rights
Namibia Diverse Women’s Association (NDWA)
New York Transgender Advocacy Group
Nyasa Rainbow Alliance (NRA)
One Love LGBTIQ+ Comunity
People’s Matrix Organization
Priorities on Rights and Sexual Health Ghana
Purple Hand Africa
Red Umbrella Athens
Refugee Coalition of East Africa
Right not Rescue trust of Namibia
Rise Above Women’s Organisation
Samtökin ’78 – The National Queer Organization of Iceland
Side By Side Travel
Social Justice Coalition (South Africa)
SOMALILAND ASSOCIATION FOR YOUTH SALVATION (SAYS)
Southern Africa Trans Forum (SATF)
Stop AIDS ib Liberia (SAIL)
Support Group & Resource Center on Sexuality Studies Indonesia
Thandolwethu Queer Collective
The People’s Matrix Association
Thorne Harbour Health
Trans Research Education, Advovacy & Training (TREAT)
Trans Smart Trust
Transgender Intersex Androgynous Movement of Namibia (TIAMON)
Triangle Project LGBTI REFUGEES
UHC Consulting Ltd
UK Community Advisory Board
University of California, San Francisco
University of New South Wales
University of Toronto
Wings To Transcend Namibia
Young Queer Alliance
Youth Voices Count