Denmark is withholding 65 million krone (€9 million) in aid to Tanzania for what it says are the homophobic state policies of the east African nation.
The European Council also announced that it will review relations with Tanzania, with Brussels’ foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, expressing deep concern over the deterioration of human rights standards for Tanzania’s LGBT community.
Denmark’s Development Minister Ulla Tornaes deep expressed concern over statements by Tanzanian officials, who called on the public to report on gay men to the country’s authorities.
The persecution of homosexual men in Tanzania has stepped up since the election of President John Magufuli in 2015. In October, Paul Makonda – the regional commissioner for the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam and a devout hardline Christian – called for a crackdown on homosexuality, which is illegal in the country and carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison; longer than a standard 25-year life imprisonment sentence in most EU countries.
“These homosexuals boast on social networks,” said Makonda, “Give me their names…My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them,” adding, “I prefer to anger those (European) countries than to anger God.”
Earlier this month, 10 men were arrested on Zanzibar, Tanzania’s Indian Ocean archipelago, for allegedly conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony.