hopes

Will Complaining to the UN About Tanzania’s Gay Sex Ban Do Anything?

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Maybe you have heard that Africa as a whole is not the greatest place to live if you are a homosexual? Some might say it’s worse than the Middle East! But what region really wants to claim the top honor of discriminating against, harassing, and torturing the most gay people? (Uganda, don’t answer that.) As just one example, things are so bad in Tanzania that a trio of NGOs have filed a report with the United Nations laying out the civil rights abuses.

Reaching out to the UN’s Human Rights Committee, the Centre for Human Rights Promotion in East Africa, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and the Global Rights organizations are hoping to mount pressure on Tanzania to decriminalize same-sex sex, where intercourse between two men is punishable by life in prison, provide anti-discrimination protections, and review its HIV/AIDS policy, which is one giant cesspool of inefficiencies. (It doesn’t help that, during a visit here, President George W. Bush pushed his version of HIV prevention, which was abstinence-only education.)

Which is all well and good, but thus far it’s falling on deaf ears: “However reached for comment, a spokesperson in the office of the Attorney General, Mr Omega Ngole, who admitted seeing the report, said the country’s laws were meant to protect the right of all and safeguard their integrity.”