In a statement, the DoS expressed concern over the “arrests and harassment” of the LGBTQ population in Tanzania, condemning the country for “creating an atmosphere of violence, intimidation, and discrimination.”
The statement was issued as a response to Tanzanian Governor Paul Makonda’s announcement of his plan to form a government taskforce to hunt down and arrest LGBTQ individuals.
Other international bodies have commented on this LGBTQ targeting. The European Union released a statement saying they regret “the deterioration of the human rights and rule of law situation in Tanzania and will be conducting a broad review of its relations with Tanzania.”
It was further announced that Ambassador Roeland van de Geer, the EU’s envoy to Tanzania, would be recalled to Brussels.
The U.S.’s statement read, “The United States government is deeply concerned over escalating attacks and legislative actions by the Government of Tanzania that violate civil liberties and human rights… We are troubled by the continued arrests and harassment of marginalized persons, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and others who seek to exercise their rights to freedom of speech, association, and identity.”
“The legislation is being used to restrict civil liberties for all,” the statement continued. “The deteriorating state of human rights and rule of law in Tanzania inhibits development, economic prosperity, peace, and security.”
“We call on Tanzanian authorities to act decisively to safeguard the rights of civil society organizations, human rights defenders, journalists, health workers, political activists, and all people in accordance with the Tanzanian constitution, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and the country’s international and regional obligations and commitments.”
Homosexuality is still a criminal offense in Tanzania and can be punished with up to 30 years of imprisonment.