Tanzanian politician who launched anti-gay crackdown barred from United States

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An anti-LGBTQ crackdown was launched in Tanzania in 2018.

Paul Christian Makonda, an anti-LGBTQ politician from Tanzania who launched an anti-LGBTQ crackdown in the country, has been barred from entering the United States.

Makonda is the governor of Tanzania’s economic capital, Dar es Salaam, and in 2018 ordered a rounding-up of all suspected LGBTQ citizens in the region, claiming that he was trying to ‘cure’ them.

Due to the crackdown, Denmark withdrew £7.5 million of funds of aid. Ulla Tørnæs, the Development Cooperation Minister 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.”

Yesterday (31 January), the US State Department issued a statement barring Paul, and his wife Mary Felix Messenge, from entering the country because of human rights violations.

“These actions against Paul Christian Makonda underscore our concern with human rights violations and abuses in Tanzania,” said the statement.

It added: “The Department of State is publicly designating Paul Christian Makonda… due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights, which include the flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons.

“He has also been implicated in oppression of the political opposition, crackdowns on freedom of expression and association, and the targeting of marginalised individuals.”

The statement also added that it was concerned with general human rights abuses in Tanzania, saying: “The United States remains deeply concerned over deteriorating respect for human rights and rule of law in Tanzania.

“We call on the Tanzanian government to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of expression, association, and the right of peaceful assembly.”

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