Press Release – Tanzania

For Immediate Release:

On 29th October 2018, The Regional Commissioner for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Paul Makonda announced plans to form a task force to identify and arrest LGBTIQ people in the country. This task force is expected to comprise the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, the media and the police. According to activists on the ground, the taskforce would commence work next week identifying and arresting LGBTIQ people. The commissioner has also asked members of the public to report anyone they know to be LGBTIQ and claims to have already received over 1400 names.

We stand in solidarity with our LGBTIQ family in Tanzania, as we do with LGBTIQ persons throughout Africa and the world when life threatening discrimination and exclusion on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and/or expression is experienced. We unreservedly condemn these blatant violations of the rights of LGBTIQ persons under this order issued by the governor of Dar es Salaam. To our LGBTQ comrades in Tanzania, we understand your plight. It is our hope that religious leaders from across Africa and the world will become a voice of love in the region against this kind of hatred, violence, and discrimination.

We at the Global Interfaith Network bring to the attention of the Tanzanian Government the Johannesburg Declaration (2018) which reflects, among other things, that in African traditions, sexual difference has never been a reason for exclusion from family and community life. And that punishing people for sexual difference by denying them the right to full participation in society is a colonial notion being advanced by the extreme religious right and those they have co-opted, and is distinctly un-African. (The Johannesburg Declaration, http://www.gin-ssogie.org/johannesburg-declaration/).

Our African faith and cultural traditions have long included the understanding that all human beings are created in the image of God, and have inherent dignity, and that we have a duty to care for the vulnerable and marginalized in our societies, communities and families.

We similarly urge the Tanzanian government take into account the aspirations set out in the Maputo Protocol (2003) on Sexual and Reproductive Health, the Angola Resolution 275 on Protection against Violence and Violations against Persons on the basis of their real or imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity (2014) of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, and Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU), the universality and indivisibility of Human Rights, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACPHR)

The undersigned human rights defenders and religious leaders working to advance societies that affirm peoples’ diversities, choice, human rights and agency throughout the world hereby demand the following:

1. Call on the Tanzanian government to immediately halt this move and take measures to protect the LGBTI community in the country
2. The Tanzanian President to condemn the violence and biased acts against LGBTI persons
3. Immediate intervention from stakeholders, especially the African Union and the ACHPR to call on Tanzanian Government to halt the arrests
4. Countries in the region accept LGBTI persons fleeing persecution and seeking safe haven.
The UNHCR to review its policy that LGBTIQ refugees do not warrant special considerations and protections and to acknowledge the need for additional services and dispensations for LGBTIQ refugees

What you can do on November 8th 2018 Global Day of Action—and every day:

1. Post a message of support on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media using: #IStandWithTanzaniaLGBT

2. For these posts you can say this, or something like it:
a. “I stand with the LGBTI community in Tanzania” The arrest and crackdown is in contravention of African traditional and religious values; and in violation of the Tanzanian constitution and international human rights law.”

3. You can also call your elected officials and ask what they are doing about the situation to protect the safety of LGBT people living in Tanzania.

In solidarity,

The Global Interfaith Network for People of All Sexes, Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Expressions, South Africa
PEMA Kenya, Kenya
Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK), Kenya
Lerato LaBatswadi – Mothers of Queer children, South Africa
Dr Nontando Hadebe, Chairperson – Southern Africa Circle of Concerned African Women theologians, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Sybil Nandi Msezane, South Africa
Centre for Gender and Sexuality, Union Theological Seminary, Philippines
Rev Jide Macaulay, House of Rainbow, Africa Regional
Inclusive and Affirming Ministries, South Africa
Union Theological Seminary faculty, Philippines
Imam Muhsin, Hendricks, The CCI Network / Al-Ghurbaah Foundation, South Africa
Nyanza Rift Valley Western Kenya Network (NYARWEK), Kenya
Davis Mac-Iyalla, Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa, Ghana
The Global Justice Institute, USA
Rev Master Jumbe, Peace and Justice Support Network (PEJUSUN). Malawi
Tuisina Ymania Brown, Samoa
Madelene Isaacks, TULINAM, Namibia
Ricki Kgositau, Accountability International, South Africa
Jacq Carver, The Netherlands
Joel Cathline, Canada
Lyn van Rooyen, South Africa
Rudolph Cupido, South Africa
Tebogo Makwati, South Africa
Uchenna Samuel , Nigeria
Suren Abreu, India
Asmin Victor, Kenya
Brigid-Rose Tiernan, South Africa
Harold Kachepatsonga, Malawi
Craig Chapman, South Africa
Anthony Waldhausen, South Africa
Clifford Duncan, Kenya
Virginia Saldanha, India
DAVID IKPO, South Africa
Pierre Buckley, South Africa
Jacquiline Wanyonyi, Kenya
SILA ROSE, Kenya
Sharon Cox, Micah Project, South Africa
Rev Phumzile Mabizela, International Network of Religious Leaders living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, South Africa

We invite all individuals and organisations who wish to do so, including advocates, activists, political, social and religious leaders, to join in our efforts and indicate their support for the Tanzanian LGBT community, so that they shall be added to the list of affirming signatories.

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