A report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has detailed various “inhuman” treatments meted out on some men belonging to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Tanzania.

The report comes a few days after the United States banned Paul Makonda, politician and regional commissioner of Dar es Salaam, who launched a crackdown on homosexuality in 2018, from visiting the country.

The report titled ‘If We Don’t Get Services, We Will Die’, which was released on Monday, chronicled the experiences of 35 self-identified LGTB Tanzanians between May 2018 and June 2019.

It also accused the Tanzanian government of implementing policies aimed at stifling rights of those who engage in homosexuality in the country, including denial of access to health facilities.

According to the report, gay men were exempted from training on HIV prevention while the government also proscribed condom use among them.

It added that part of the clampdown on LGBT people in the country included random arrests by police after which they would be subjected to force anal examinations by medical professionals to collect “evidence” of anal intercourse.

Osman, a 24-year-old HIV-positive gay man, told HRW he was told to quit LGBT when he went to seek HIV medical treatment at a government owned government hospital in Dar es Salaam, the country’s capital.

“[They told me] “You’re a good boy, why do you have gay sex? That’s why you got AIDS, because those acts angered God,” he was quoted as saying.

“They also told me to stop these games and get saved, to chase out Satan, who caused me to have sex, and to find a wife, get married, and have a family.”

Also speaking, Kim, another member of the LGBT community, narrated how he was forcefully made to undergo anal examination at a government hospital.

“These doctors did the procedure of anal tests. It was by force. The police officers were there with guns, so many of them.…” he said.

“We went to the maternal ward where the women go and give birth. They took this metal instrument and they stick it – they penetrate it in our [anus], and it was very, very painful.

“And then they say “Cough, try to cough” while the steel is inside our [anus], and when I coughed, they were pressing the metal into me. It was very brutal and painful. They were pressing the testicles, the penis. Everything about that testing was very brutal.”

In the same vein, Medard, a 38-year-old gay man in Dar es Salaam, called on the government to shelve its crackdown on the LGBT community, noting that such has made access to health facilities difficult for them.

“Whenever I had a health problem, I could go to those centers for help or to be connected to a healthcare provider that did not discriminate, that treated me like everyone else,” he said.

“These days, even if I have a health problem, I don’t have a place to go where I can describe my problem, so I just keep quiet.… I would like the government of Tanzania to allow kuchus [LGBT people] access to health services. If we don’t get services, we will die.”

Similarly, Victor, a 25-year-old gay man in Dar es Salaam, said: “Because of government, LGBT people don’t have a place to get training [on sexual health]. People don’t get lubricants, they don’t get condoms, they don’t get services. In short, we are dying.”

Several human rights groups have criticised John Magufuli, Tanzanian president, for his clampdown on the LGBT community in the country since 2015.

“The Tanzanian authorities have orchestrated a systematic attack on the rights of LGBT people, including their right to health,” said Neela Ghoshal, senior LGBT rights researcher at HRW.

“Manufactured threats around the so-called ‘promotion of homosexuality’ have displaced best practices and evidence-based approaches in guiding HIV policy in Tanzania.”



Copyright 2020 TheCable. All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from TheCable.

Follow us on twitter @Thecablestyle