UN Rights Chief Warns of Potential ‘Witch-Hunt’ as Tanzanian Official Plans to Track and Arrest LGBT People
The United Nations human rights chief has warned that an official campaign in and around the capital of Tanzania to identify and detain anyone suspected of being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) “could turn into a witch-hunt.”
2 Nov 2018 – Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), expressed apprehension today over a statement earlier this week by the Regional Commissioner of Dar es Salaam that a committee would soon be put in place to track and arrest gays, and to encourage member of the public to report people suspected of being gay.
According to news reports, the regional commissioner made the request on Monday [29 Oct], pledging that a special team would be up and running by next week. By Tuesday, he reportedly said he had already received 5,763 messages from the public which included more than 100 names. With homophobic attitudes in Tanzania already rife, activists fear the statement will serve to further fuel violence.
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Tanzania have already been subjected to growing violence, harassment and discrimination over the past two years,” said the High Commissioner. “And those defending their rights to health, to a life free from discrimination, violence and arbitrary arrest have themselves been increasingly targeted, even arrested.”
“This could turn into a witch-hunt and could be interpreted as a licence to carry out violence.”
– UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
“This could turn into a witch-hunt and could be interpreted as a licence to carry out violence, intimidation, bullying, harassment and discrimination against those perceived to be LGBT,” Ms. Bachelet stressed.
She urged the Tanzanian Government to fulfil its duty to protect the human rights of all its people, including by holding individuals accountable who advocate hatred, violence and discrimination.
The Government needs to ensure that human rights defenders, journalists and health providers can carry out their work, free from attacks and persecution, she added.
The regional official’s plan also includes an effort to “cure” gay people into being straight – a practice condemned as harmful, unethical and without scientific basis by the Committee against Torture and the World Health Organization.
Ms. Bachelet warned that this could further stigmatize LGBT individuals.
“I call on the Government and all the people of Tanzania to stand up for the human rights of everyone in the country, regardless of who they are or whom they love,” she said. “Political, religious and other leaders should work to combat prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Noting that Tanzania has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which set out the rights of everyone to freedom from discrimination, the High Commissioner also called for a review of national laws which continue to criminalize consensual same-sex relations.
DISCLAIMER: In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
One Response to “UN Rights Chief Warns of Potential ‘Witch-Hunt’ as Tanzanian Official Plans to Track and Arrest LGBT People”
Join the discussion!
We welcome debate and dissent, but personal — ad hominem — attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), abuse and defamatory language will not be tolerated. Nor will we tolerate attempts to deliberately disrupt discussions. We aim to maintain an inviting space to focus on intelligent interactions and debates.
Click here to go to the current weekly digest or pick another article:
- Fact Check: How Many People Are Enslaved in the World Today?
- Rising Human Trafficking Takes on ‘Horrific Dimensions’: Almost a Third of Victims Are Children
- Within Hours of Taking Office, Brazil's “Trump of the Tropics” Starts Assault on the Amazon
- U.S. Military Says It Has a “Light Footprint” in Africa: These Documents Show a Vast Network of Bases
- Are Anti-Gay Witch Hunts Really Protecting 'African Values'?
- Girls in West Africa Offered into Sexual Slavery as ‘Wives of Gods’
- Giuliani Says Assange Should Not Be Prosecuted
- Uyghur Dispersion and Detention in China – Worse Than We Thought
- They Rescued Pigs and Turkeys from Factory Farms — and Now Face Decades in Prison