10 Men Arrested in Tanzanian City For 'Being Gay'

Nick Kangadis | November 7, 2018
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Imagine you were arrested for the religion you practice, targeted for the color of your skin or killed for your sexual preference. Last week, Regional Commissioner of Tanzania’s biggest city, Paul Makonda, told the citizens of Dar es Salaam to begin calling a hotline to report gay people in order for the government to arrest them.

That was last week. This week, Makonda followed through on his call.

According to the Daily Mail:

Ten men have been arrested on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar for 'being gay' days after a high-profile politician created a hit squad to hunt down homosexuals.

The group were detained when police raided a party at Pongwe Beach after authorities received a tip-off from members of the public.

“The government of the United Republic of Tanzania would like to clarify that these are (Makonda's) personal views and not the position of the government,” Tanzania’s foreign affairs ministry stated, according to print and online news publication The EastAfrican.

Homosexuality is a crime in Tanzania, although one possible factor for the persecution of gay people comes in when you take the predominant religion of Zanzibar into account.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor reported in 2013 that “the population of Zanzibar is approximately 98 percent Muslim, of which 80-90 percent is Sunni. The remainder consists of several Shia groups, mostly of Asian descent.”

What’s even more crazy than gay people in Dar es Salaam being arrested for being gay is the methods with which they determine a person’s “same-sex activity among men.”

East Africa Deputy Director for Amnesty International Seif Magango said the following about the situation:

This is a shocking blow following the Tanzanian government's assurance that no-one would be targeted and arrested because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

This appalling attack on Tanzanian people simply exercising their human rights shows the danger of inflammatory and discriminatory rhetoric at senior levels of government.

We now fear these men may be subjected to forced anal examination, the government's method of choice for 'proving' same-sex sexual activity among men. This must not be allowed to happen - these men must be released immediately.

If Magango’s claims of how the government is “proving” whether someone is gay or not are true, that is a disturbing violation of human rights on an entirely evil level.

The Daily Mail also reported that Makonda’s “anti-gay surveillance team will be made up of 17 people including state officials, police and people involved in the media.”

Basically, think of it as a gestapo hunting gay people. This is definitely a situation to keep a close eye on.