Denmark withdraws £7.5 million worth of aid from Tanzania over anti-LGBTQ crackdown

The governor of  Dar es Salaam announced at the end of last month that he wanted citizens to hand in people they suspected were LGBTQ.

The governor defended himself, saying that he was intending to cure those handed over to authorities, rather than punish him. But the crackdown was met with international backlash.

And now Denmark has withdrawn £7.5 million worth of aid from the country because of the crackdown. Posting on Twitter, Denmark’s Development Cooperation Minister, Ulla Tørnæs, said: “I am very concerned about the negative development in Tanzania.

“Most recently the totally unacceptable homophobic statements from a commissioner. I have therefore decided to withhold DKK 65m in the country. Respect for human rights is crucial for Denmark.”

Tørnæs also postponed a trip to Tanzania following the tweet. Denmark’s withdrawal from aid is a significant blow to Tanzania, as Denmark is its second largest donor, according to Reuters.

Speaking to Reuters, Tørnæs, echoed her tweet, saying: “Currently, about half of our cooperation goes through the government. I will look at changing that, so we don’t work directly with a government leading a politic that goes in the wrong direction on human rights issues.

“I am worried about the development we’ve seen in Tanzania in the last three years, which has culminated in the recent homophobic comments.”

Since Makonda’s call for the public to report any LGBTQ person they know of in Dar es Salaam, authorities have received more than 5,000 calls.

It’s been reported that police are acting upon this information by raiding the homes of LGBTQ people in the city. Many are fleeing their homes with LGBTQ activists being targeted by the authorities.

The atmosphere in the city was described as “open season on gay people” by another activist, with lists of names posted across social media as an attempt to out LGBTQ people.

“You can imagine what that is doing to people, to families,” one activist said.

Last year, Tanzania president John Magufuli made the ridiculous claim that even cows oppose homosexuality during one of his many homophobic rants.

“Those who teach such things do not like us, brothers,” Magufuli said of LGBTQ people and activists. “They brought us drugs and homosexual practices that even cows disapprove of.”

What’s more, there have been calls for newspapers to publish the names of gays and lesbians, while some officials have also recommended forced anal examinations of suspected homosexuals.

Back in 2017, the Health Ministry also closed a number of HIV/AIDS clinics in the country as they claimed they were being used to promote gay sex.

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