News / Africa

HRW: Tanzanian Police Abuses Block HIV Progress

A syringe sucks up a mixture of heroin and water prepared on a foil wrap as addicts shoot up in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Dec. 2009 file photo.A syringe sucks up a mixture of heroin and water prepared on a foil wrap as addicts shoot up in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Dec. 2009 file photo.
x
A syringe sucks up a mixture of heroin and water prepared on a foil wrap as addicts shoot up in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Dec. 2009 file photo.
A syringe sucks up a mixture of heroin and water prepared on a foil wrap as addicts shoot up in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Dec. 2009 file photo.
Selah Hennessy
Efforts to fight the spread of HIV in Tanzania have been stymied by discrimination against high-risk groups, according to a report published Tuesday by Human Rights Watch.

According to the new findings, widespread police abuse against sex workers, drug users, and men who have sex with men is a major hindrance in tackling the spread of the deadly virus.

“Key populations are not being reached," says Human Rights Watch researcher Neela Ghoshal. "Sex workers are beaten and raped by police, often without condoms, on a regular basis. Gay men are driven underground. People who inject heroin do not know where to get clean needles.”

In a case recounted from a December 2010, an 18-year-old man identified as gay was forced by police at gunpoint to call five gay friends and tell them to meet him at a bar. When they arrived, police arrested the group and brought them to the central station where they say they were repeatedly raped by fellow detainees. The police, victims said, refused to help.

According to the report, Tanzanian law classifies some high-risk groups as criminals. Consensual sex between adult males, for example, carries a penalty of 30-years-to-life in prison, one of the most severe punishments for gay sex in the world. The criminal status, the report indicates, drives gay men underground, preventing them from seeking or receiving medical attention and making them easy targets for human rights violations by law enforcement.

The report says government bodies in Tanzania aren't doing enough to protect these key populations.

“Regardless of what the ethical or religious views of Tanzanian leaders might be, it is important that they see this as a public health issue," says Goshal, explaining that failure to protect high-risk groups creates health risks for the broader population. "You will protect the entire population if you can focus energy and resources on some of these most at-risk populations.”

While Tanzanian authorities have pledged to reduce stigma attached to marginalized groups and work toward decriminalization of same-sex intimacy and sex work, Ghoshal says it is time the government acts on the commitments.

“While you see this kind of discrimination against key populations throughout much of Africa, the impact in Tanzania is particularly severe," she says. "When you talk, particularly to men who have sex with men, they can recount long lists of friends of theirs who have died of HIV/AIDS and these are people who are not getting services.”

The Human Rights Watch report was based on research carried out from May 2012 through April of this year. The group interviewed 121 members of high-risk groups, along with Tanzanian government officials, service providers and academics.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Amelia Franz from: USA
June 19, 2013 5:06 AM
If you are appalled by this treatment of innocent human beings, please visit the site of Wezesha, a group of brave individuals who are standing up for LGBT human rights in Tanzania. Their site is wezeshatz.org.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid