Behind the Mask http://www.mask.org.za/
December 2000 – Behind the Mask
A Gay Muslim Marriage in Tanzania
Homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania, as indeed it is on most of the continent, bar the republic of South Africa where gay rights are enshrined in the constitution. This, however, was no bar to two gay Tanzanian Muslims, Mohammed Issa and Abdulrahman Juma who exchanged rings and were married in public ceremony, covered by the local media in March.
According to Issa, their very public wedding was a sign of defiance against the Catholic church, which together with Islam, make up Tanzania’s main religious groups.
It all began when, during a mass wedding for 600 Catholic heterosexual couples, the leader of the Catholic community in Tanzania, Archbishop Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, launched an attack on homosexuality, describing it as "one of the most heinous sins on earth".Said the Archbishop: "God said people should bear children to fill the world. How can a sexual relationship between two men, or two women for that matter, fill the world? This is absurd"
Issa says he and Juma had planned to get married later in the year, "but we hurriedly wedded because of the nasty words uttered by the Archbishop. We just wanted to rubbish his words."Issa, known also as Auntie Muddy, has been reported in the Tanzanian press as having warned that he and other gays in Dar es Salaam, the Tanzanian seaside capital city of three million inhabitants, might feel pushed to hold a gay rights demonstration if the church continues in its condemnation of gays.
March 10, 2003 – 365Gay.com
Anti-Gay Protest Targets Gay Tourists
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff, Dar es Salaam
A noisy protest is scheduled to greet gay American tourists as they arrive in the Tanzanian capital this week. A Muslim group has called for a demonstration at the airport as the 100 tourists begin their tour of the country known for its beaches and wild animal preserves. The tourists, on a trek across southern and eastern Africa, are expected to spend two days in Tanzania.
The Muslim group, identifying itself as a committee " to prevent immorality", Sunday placed notices throughout Dar es Salaam calling on the faithful to harass the tourists throughout their trip. "We urge all Muslims, particularly the youths, to come out and fight the gays from the airport, in the hotels where they will stay and everywhere they will be," the posters said. The group also said that those businesses which welcome gay tourists and government officials who helped organize the trip deserved to be sanctioned and harassed.
The group said homosexuality was against Tanzania’s laws and religious teachings. The head of an evangelical Christian church also condemned the trip. But Archbishop of the Full Gospel Bible Fellowship Zakaria Kakobe called off its own demonstration saying Monday that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism had cancelled the trip. But a spokesperson for the ministry, Zakia Meghji, told reporters that in principle, the government has no objection to the visit of gay tourists to Tanzania. However, she said she did not have any information on the visit, and denied that any trips had been cancelled by the government.
March 15, 2003 – The Guardian
IPP Media, Tanzania
Hundreds protest cancelled visit of gay tourists
by Bilal Abdul-Aziz and Mwanaidi Swedi
Hundreds of Muslims in Dar es Salaam yesterday participated in a peaceful demonstration organised to protest the visit of gay tourists from the United States of America which has, however, been cancelled. The Muslim believers, who carried placards with messages condemning the tour, marched all the way from Mnazi Mmoja grounds in the city centre to Kigogo area. From the city centre, the march, which was organised by the Council of Muslim Clerics in the city, passed through Morogoro, Kawawa and Kigogo roads, to Masjid Islah where it ended. On the way demonstrators burnt US flags as a sign of their grievances and protest against homosexuality.
Speaking at the end of the demonstration, Sheikh Mussa Kileo, attacked all those who engaged in homosexuality and said their fair judgment according to sharia, was the death sentence. Sheikh Kileo said that people who supported and those who planned the tour were also subject to a similar judgment. He urged Muslims to join hands in condemning obnoxious habit from entering the country. The cleric noted that allowing gay tourists to visit the country would have an adverse impact on the culture and people in the country, especially the youth.
Last weekend, a group, identifying itself as the committee to curb immorality in Muslim organisations, pinned notices in various areas of the city centre, instructing its members to picket and harass the visiting gay tourists. The Archbishop of the Full Gospel Bible Fellowship, Zakaria Kakobe, had also threatened to lead a demonstration last week, to protest the visit. He said the coming of the gay tourists to Tanzania would damage the reputation of this country. It was reported earlier that the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Zakia Meghji, had stated that, in principle, the government had no objection to the visit of the gay tourists. At least 100 gay tourists from America planned to visit the country this year for a one-month tour, starting from last Monday. However, the tour has been cancelled. Press reports said the tour has been re-scheduled to next January.
November 30, 2007 – PBS.org
Tanzania Implements HIV Prevention Measures as World Marks AIDS Day
As part of a U.S.-backed fight against HIV infection in Tanzania, student groups perform plays and stage other events in a bid to develop new techniques that will help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Susan Dentzer examines these programs on the eve of World AIDS Day.
Jim Lehrer: Finally tonight, tackling AIDS through prevention. On the eve of World AIDS Day, President Bush asked for more money today to help fight AIDS. A key part of that is prevention.
Our health correspondent, Susan Dentzer, has been looking at such efforts in Tanzania as part of her series on AIDS in Africa. The Health Unit is a partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Susan Dentzer, NewsHour Health Correspondent: Musan Ngalula dances and sings, urging people to get tested for HIV-AIDS. He’s trying to get the message to teens or young adults like him here in Tanzania. And Ngalula teams up regularly with fellow musicians in stylized native dress to drum home the message that HIV can kill. He knows that all too well.
Musan Ngalula, Tanzanian Singer (through translator):
I lost both my parents to HIV. My mother passed away in 1995, and my father died earlier, when I was in the second grade.
Susan Dentzer: This and other outreach groups here in Tanzania are sponsored by the U.S. Global AIDS Initiative, also known as the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief. As such, the groups are part of an urgent effort to prevent the 2.5 million new HIV infections now estimated to occur throughout the world each year.
Mark Dybul, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator: We can’t treat our way out of this epidemic.
Susan Dentzer: Ambassador Mark Dybul is the U.S.
Global AIDS coordinator overseeing the program. He says, with roughly 33 million around the world infected with HIV and as many as 8 million of those already in need of anti-retroviral treatment, the world may prove unwilling to foot the bill to put all who need them on the drugs.
That’s a key reason why preventing even more cases is so critical and why the program has as its target preventing 7 million new cases by 2008. If it accomplishes that, it will have met a key test of its overall success, experts say.
It was a very good thing that President Kikwete did, because I wouldn’t have come to get tested if it weren’t for him.
"Relying on behavior change"
Mark Dybul: Until we have a vaccine or a microbicide or pre-exposure prophylactics or some other technological interventions, we’re relying on behavior change. And as we know from smoking campaigns, and getting people to reduce fat content, and these types of health behavior change, it takes a long time.
Susan Dentzer: Here in Tanzania, the effort to change behavior starts with the estimated 7 percent of adults believed to be infected. Making certain they know they’re infected is critical, so they can change their behavior to avoid infecting others.
Tracy Carson coordinates the U.S. Global AIDS Program here.
Tracy Carson, U.S. Global AIDS Program: It’s preventing the 93 percent of the population who are uninfected now from becoming infected.
Susan Dentzer: And that’s why last summer Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete kicked off a national campaign to get far more Tanzanians tested for HIV. He got himself tested first.
Dr. Bennett Fimbo of the Tanzania National AIDS Control program told us the government expects up to 5 million Tanzanians to be tested in the second half of this year.
Dr. Bennett Fimbo, Tanzania National AIDS Control
Program: It empowers individuals. Once they know that they are not infected or they are infected, they access those services, in terms of care. They will also access preventive aspects. They will also access information, how to live with the epidemic, how to live with the virus in the body, and how to avoid transmission to other people who are not infected.
Susan Dentzer: Rehema Rajabu came for an HIV test at a mobile testing site in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania’s capital. It’s sponsored by the African Medical Research Foundation and supported by the U.S.
Rehema Rajabu, Tanzanian Citizen (through translator): It was a very good thing that President Kikwete did, because I wouldn’t have come to get tested if it weren’t for him.
Susan Dentzer: At the end of the session, a counselor gave Rajabu the good news: The rapid HIV test showed she was negative. To verify the results, she was advised to be retested in three months.
We supply more condoms than the rest of the world combined, so that’s 1.7 billion condoms since this program started.
Promoting "ABCs" in HIV Education
Susan Dentzer: For people who do test positive, there’s counseling to use condoms. They’re the "c" of the U.S. program’s so-called ABC approach: abstinence; be faithful; use condoms. And there’s no question that handing out millions of dollars worth of condoms has been a major part of the program’s prevention effort.
Mark Dybul: We supply more condoms than the rest of the world combined, so that’s 1.7 billion condoms since this program started.
Susan Dentzer: As for the "a," abstinence, the U.S.
program was required by Congress to use a third of its prevention dollars on programs that advocate abstinence until marriage. But various studies and public health experts have questioned the effectiveness of abstinence programs in changing sexual behavior.
And a 2006 report by Congress’s Government Accountability Office said the abstinence requirement had interfered with the ability to deliver, quote, "comprehensive messages to certain populations." That could include people who already have AIDS for whom advice about abstinence isn’t likely to be helpful.
In Tanzania, we saw how these ABC messages are really conveyed and that the on-the-ground reality is more complicated than the simple ABC rubric would suggest.
In fact, especially when aimed at young people, the messages are more like this: Abstain if you can, but if you can’t, be faithful to one partner. If you can’t do that, at least reduce the number of sexual partners you have so you’re less likely to get or spread HIV.
A case in point was this gathering for Tanzanian high school students in Dar-es-Salaam. It was organized by a group called TAYOA, the Tanzania Youth Alliance, which is funded by the U.S. program. To the audience’s delight, students role-played how to deal with each other on matters pertaining to sex.
"Baby, I love you," says this boy. The girl’s response is noncommittal, but her manner conveys the clear message, "Get lost." Other students describe their solutions for avoiding HIV.
Tanzanian Student: I just want to be faithful. I have to confess. I really have a girlfriend, but it’s only one, and I’ve been with her for three years. I just like to stick with the two methods: being faithful and abstinence.
If you calculate, you can find that you are sleeping with maybe 3,000 or 2,000 people because of all these sexual networks.
Bringing messages to youth
Susan Dentzer: Peter Masika heads TAYOA, which is funded by the U.S. program.
Peter Masika Tanzanian Anti-AIDS Activist: What we realize is that youth, they like very much to hear the message from their own fellow youth. If we don’t bring these good, positive messages, good ideas and also prevention messages, empower young people so they can tell their fellow young people, like telling them abstinence is cool, it’s good, there’s no way that we are going to be successful.
Susan Dentzer: Even if sexually active youth just reduce their number of partners, Masika told us, HIV transmission will fall.
Peter Masika: You have to know that you are having relationships with all the other people he has ever had. And likewise, the boy is having relationships with all the other people.
We always tell them, "Take this into your imagination, into a big football ground, and try to think that you put all the beds around and try to think how many people you are sleeping with at one time. If you calculate, you can find that you are sleeping with maybe 3,000 or 2,000 people because of all these sexual networks."
Susan Dentzer: The U.S. program’s support of HIV-fighting efforts like these are likely to get a close look soon in Washington.
The original five-year program was passed in 2003, but to continue beyond 2008 it will have to be extended by Congress. And experts say that, in the future, the program will have to focus more than ever on areas like prevention.
You get older, wealthy men picking up young women and infecting them with AIDS, because poverty is such an issue that the young women are seduced by these older, wealthier, more distinguished men.
Reaching youth through radio
Susan Dentzer: Global AIDS coordinator Dybul told us that means thinking of new ways to reach youngpeople around the world.
Mark Dybul: There are organizations in the private sector that live and die on whether or not they change a young kid’s behavior, whether it’s going to a movie or drinking a certain soda or buying a certain toy. We need to take that type of messaging, that type of 21st-century approach.
Susan Dentzer: We got a glimpse of that future recently in this impromptu recording studio in Dar-es-Salaam. A group of Tanzanian actors was taping an anti-HIV radio spot.
The radio spot was the brainchild of a Stanford Business School professor, Chip Heath. He was brought over by the U.S. Global AIDS Program to help craft a new HIV prevention campaign.
Chip Heath, Stanford University: One of the important problems in Tanzania is intergenerational transmission of AIDS. You get older, wealthy men picking up young women and infecting them with AIDS, because poverty is such an issue that the young women are seduced by these older, wealthier, more distinguished men.
Susan Dentzer: So Heath told us he and his colleagues invented the character Fataki, or Swahili for explosion, to try to create an influential negative cultural stereotype.
Chip Heath: Fataki is this lecherous character that’s always trying to pick up women in some form. He’s wealthy. He’s smooth. But in every case, when he tries to pick up a young woman, there will be a friend in the positive messages that intervenes and says, "Don’t you know that guy? His wife died of AIDS." And then they start running away, and Fataki is going, "Hey, wait, baby, what’s wrong?"
The announcer comes on and says, "Don’t let your friends fall prey to Fataki." And what we’re hoping is that it’s going to become a catchphrase. "He’s such a Fataki. You know, he’s such a lecher."
Susan Dentzer: Back at the mobile testing center, we watched as a group danced and sang their own prevention messages.
"Get tested," sang this man. He has HIV. So does this woman. With the backing of the U.S. program, they’re hoping to help others avoid the same fate.
February 8, 2008 – The Guardian
Dar man gets life imprisonment for carnal knowledge
by Hellen Nachilongo
Dar es Salaam – At long last the rigour of the due process of the law has finally and conclusively landed on a Dar es Salaam resident who has been sentenced to a life imprisonment term for committing unnatural offence to a child of tender age. Ramadhan Mohamed (21) was jailed yesterday in Kinondoni District Court in the early hours of the daty. The deterrent punishment was imposed on the accused by Resident Magistrate Salome Mshasha after the court was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that none but the accused himself committed the offence preferred against him. The Court had considered and evaluated prosecution evidence given in court by three prosecution witnesses.
The court made a finding to the effect that the accused, who was a businessman, had carnal knowledge against the order of nature of a 9 year old Grade three boy schooling at Mburahati Muungano Primary School situated in Kinondoni District in the City. The accused when called upon to say anything in mitigation, simply remained silent for a while, only to say he would appeal. Earlier, Inspector of Police Mohamed Kilongo prayed the court to give the convict a deterrent punishment. According to the prosecution the accused committed the offence at Mburahati Barafu area in Kinondoni District within the City on May 13, 2005.
27th February 2008 – PinkNews
African lesbian conference demands equal rights
by PinkNews.co.uk staff writer
Lesbians from across Africa have held a conference in Mozambique to highlight the homophobia and prejudice they face across the continent. Most nations in Africa criminalise same-sex relationships and in some countries gay people can be put to death. The Coalition of African Lesbians conference was attended by more than 100 delegates.
Women from 14 African countries gathered in Namibia’s capital Windhoek in August 2004 to develop the Coalition of African Lesbians. Lesbian organisations and a number of individual women from Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia are members of the organisation. "Our main goal is that lesbian and homosexuality can no longer be seen as a criminal offence," the group’s director and conference spokeswoman Fikile Vilakazi told Reuters. "You should not be arrested and charged for how you use your own body."
The coalition lobbies for political, legal social, sexual, cultural and economic rights of African lesbians by engaging strategically with African and international structures and allies and to eradicate stigma and discrimination against lesbians. South Africa, one of the few countries on the continent where gay men and lesbians are allowed to marry and legally protected from discrimination, has been rocked by several murders of prominent lesbian activists.
Sizakele Sigasa, 34, an activist for HIV/AIDS and LGBT rights, and Salome Masooa, 24, were discovered dead at field in Soweto, Johannesburg, on July 8th. They had both been shot and, it is suspected, raped. On 22nd July Thokozane Qwabe, 23, was found in a field in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal with multiple head wounds. She was naked and it is thought she was also raped.
May 23, 2008 – xtra.ca
Topping Mt Kilimanjaro: A gay perspective from the top of the world
by Jefferson Guzman
Six months ago my partner John announced that he and our friends, Elaine and her partner Barbara, wanted to go to Africa and climb Kilimanjaro. It was then that the importance of couples taking separate vacations from time to time became very clear. I’m not a sporty fag. Camping on the side of a mountain for a week is not my idea of a vacation. But the man I love was heading off on an adventure, one from which he might not return. I was scared of going but I was more afraid of letting the opportunity pass me by. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and although you don’t need specialized training or equipment to hike to the top at 19,340 feet, less than 75 percent of those who attempt this feat make it all the way. In fact the mountain claims an average of 30 lives per year. So why exactly was I about to embark on such a challenging and dangerous trek? What else makes us act like fools? Love.
There was one element of this adventure that was right up my alley — shopping for a trekking wardrobe. As I crossed each item off my three-page list of clothing and gear it became apparent that the only training I was going to cram into my busy schedule was climbing up the stairs to the second floor at Mountain Equipment Co-op. We flew over Uhuru Peak en route to the beginning of our mountaineering adventure. At a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet we were closer to the summit than we would be when we touched down. We landed in Tanzania and made our way to the Marangu Hotel, the home base for the company organizing our climb. I laid out my gear and matching mountain ensembles on the bed as instructed. Everything was inspected to ensure we had all we needed. We were briefed on the journey that would start the following morning. It was a bumpy four-hour drive to Naremoru gate where we started the climb at an altitude of 5,900 feet. Our team of 14 porters made quick work of unloading the truck. Our head guide Valerian led the way into the forest.
Elaine, Barbara and John had no problem keeping up with Valerian’s brisk pace. I trailed behind and our two assistant guides, Michael and Gaspar, kept me company. "Is John your father?" Michael asked. John is 20 years older than I am so I’ve tackled this embarrassing question before. But this time I hesitated to tell the truth. In 2004 Zanzibar increased penalties for gay sex acts. Zanzibar, a group of islands off the coast, is part of Tanzania but partially self-governing. At first the government was considering instituting penalties of up to 25 years for sex acts between men and seven years for sex acts between women. Our decision not to visit Zanzibar’s beaches had been easy.
Since Zanzibar’s economy relies heavily on tourism activists called for a travel boycott in hopes that the government would reconsider adopting the penalties. The bill ultimately passed with adopted penalties set at five years for sex acts between individuals of the same sex — male or female — and seven years for same-sex couples living as spouses or celebrating a wedding ceremony. Still, many gay travel websites continue to advertise trips to Zanzibar. In mainland Tanzania the debate on same-sex marriage is now underway. Currently the sentence is 14 years for sex acts between men. (The law makes no reference to women.) Same-sex couples risk attracting negative attention if they engage in public displays of affection. "We’re friends" I answered. Like John and I, Elaine and Barbara also grappled with how to handle questions regarding their relationship. Lying didn’t sit well with any of us but in the end we all agreed that before coming out there had to be certainty that it was safe to do so.
An hour into our trek it began to rain. It was the dry season and we were on what is thought of as the dry side of the mountain, but on Kilimanjaro you must be prepared for all weather. After a four-hour, eight-kilometre hike we arrived at our first camp at 9,000 feet. In addition to food, water and tents the porters carried our duffels; a maximum combined load of 25 kilos each. Despite being heavily weighed down they beat us to camp and had everything set up for our arrival, as they would continue to do each day. In need of dry clothes we were shown to our tents and given our duffels. Cisco the camp cook had supper waiting. We had immense respect for how hard the porters worked and constantly expressed our gratitude. We were glad we selected a company that abided by the working conditions set by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistant Project and paid above the minimum rates set by the Kilimanjaro National Park.
The rain let up in the night. After breakfast we followed the path through alpine moorland, past scrawny trees reminiscent of Dr Seuss illustrations. It was hot and my head pounded with each step. What happened to "pole, pole" — meaning slowly, slowly — which I’d heard so much about? In our briefing we were told it was crucial to hike slowly in order that our bodies acclimatize to the altitude. Drinking four litres of water each day would also help avoid the headaches and nausea known as mountain sickness. After a seven-hour hike we reached Kikelewa Cave at 12,100 feet. Having hiked 15 kilometres, I collapsed into my tent, sweaty, dirty and exhausted. We wouldn’t be able to shower for another four days. Sex was officially removed from the agenda.
At night the temperature dropped dramatically. I shivered in my sleeping bag. I felt certain I wasn’t going to make it all the way to the top and I’d made this clear before we started. John, Elaine and Barbara have each run numerous marathons. I have no athletic accomplishments. I’d been trailing behind all day. By day four we crossed the high-altitude desert of the Saddle to Kibo Hut at 15,400 feet. The mountain loomed over us. At midnight we began the final six-hour climb to the summit. At night the terrain — which is mostly loose gravel, called scree — freezes, making it easier to climb. Plus, starting at midnight puts you at the top in time for sunrise. I felt like my head was going to explode the nausea was so intense. Altitude kills; we were told to be vigilant of the warning signs. Cerebral edema, build-up of fluid around the brain: symptoms include severe headache, loss of balance, fits of anger. Pulmonary edema, build-up of fluid in the lungs: symptom is a liquid wheezing sound. Both kill within hours. The only cure is immediate descent. What would happen if I went any higher? Would I forgive myself if I didn’t try?
After three hours sleep my headache had subsided. I dressed for severe cold, estimated at 20 below zero. Note to self: Never again go camping in winter conditions. I turned on my headlamp. I had saved my iPod for this part of the climb, having been warned it would be the hardest. I listened to Radiohead’s then-new album In Rainbows. The music energized me. We followed the mass exodus out of camp and merged into a single-file line. The climb was physically and mentally taxing. The thin air made it difficult to breathe and move. Every three to 10 steps I rested briefly. There could have been 100 people in the line, yet there was a feeling of solitude. Looking up it was hard to differentiate between climbers’ headlamps and stars. The processional was spiritual, peaceful, beautiful. I gave myself over to the rhythm of the shuffle.
Three hours later we arrived at Hans Meyer Cave at 17,000 feet. Barbara didn’t look well. Hypoglycemia and hypothermia made it impossible for her to continue. She urged us on and hugged us goodbye. Gaspar accompanied her down. We pushed ahead as others turned back; some were carried. With no end in sight it was time to admit that I too needed to turn back. I paused in front of a woman who stood looking at the face of each climber as they passed. She smiled reassuringly and said, "You’re three minutes away from the top." I kept going. It was still dark when John took my picture next to the welcome sign at Gilman’s Point. We had made it to the crater’s snow-capped rim. If we turned back now we would get a certificate. If we continued another 90 minutes we would reach the highest point, Uhuru Peak, and our certificate would have a gold band.
The sun was rising. My headache was back with a vengeance. Michael saw me struggling and took my backpack. "You will make it," he said, "even if you go slowly slowly." Those 90 minutes were the most challenging of my life. It wasn’t until I could see the sign for Uhuru Peak in the distance that I knew I would make it. When I arrived I started to cry. John held me and whispered, "I knew you could make it." At 19,340 feet we were above the clouds. The sunrise revealed immense glaciers. Valerian announced we only had 15 minutes to enjoy the view, as it was dangerous to remain at this altitude for long. Our decent was a relief but also daunting. Valerian moved quickly to gain momentum then dug his heels into the melted scree and slid down 15 metres. It was faster going down but not easier. Elaine and John quickly mastered the technique but I could not find the balance needed to surf the scree.
Michael and Valerian each grabbed hold of one of my arms. For three hours they pulled me along as we surfed the scree at an overwhelming speed. By noon we reunited with Barbara and by evening had arrived at Horombo Hut. We had hiked a total of 14 hours; six kilometres up, 21 kilometres down. The next morning I could barely move. A final six-hour, 27-kilometre hike stood between me and a shower and real bed. As we concluded our adventure Elaine and John agreed it was the hardest physical challenge they had ever undertaken, harder than any marathon. After returning home to Toronto I edited together video clips I took on the climb, setting them to the music I’d listened to during that final push to the top. I was reminded of the beauty that surrounded us on Kilimanjaro, the amazement of walking through diverse climate and vegetation zones, the exhilaration of standing above the clouds.
I was thankful I had stopped to marvel at all this, to take pictures and video, even though it often meant trailing behind the group. As I watched the final cut I found myself thinking, "I will climb that mountain again… but first, I have a marathon to run." Maybe I’m a sporty fag after all.
08 June 2008 – RadioNetherlands.nl
Dutch gala raises 800,000 Euros for HIV/Aids help in Africa
A yearly benefit gala in the Dutch capital Amsterdam has raised a record 800,000 euros for HIV/Aids research in Africa and Asia. The AmsterdamDinner was attended by more than 1,100 guests and saw a host of musicians perform for free. The funds will be used to follow the development of some 4,000 HIV/Aids patients in 25 African and Asian countries over the next five years. In many developing countries HIV/Aids drugs are not available and their cost can be prohibitive.
For more information go to:
http://www.pharmaccess.org/RunScript.asp?page=24&Article_ID=65&NWS=NWS&ap=NewsDetail.asp&p=ASP~Pg24.asp: http://www.hifund.nl/index2.php: http://www.hifund.nl/page.php?page=news&idnews=37&naam=Shree+Hindu+Mandal+hospital+builds+a+new+clinic+
15 July 2009 – AllAfrica.com
Tanzania: Activists Petition UN Over Violation of Gays’ Rights
by Edward Qorro
Human rights campaigners have filed a report with the United Nations, complaining against Tanzania’s violation of the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) persons . The report submitted this month to the Human Rights Committee of the UN, seeks to highlight the social and legal obstacles that hinder the freedom of the groups with this type of social relations. The report was filed by three non-governmental organisations: the Centre for Human Rights Promotion in East Africa, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and the Global Rights.
Mr Julius Kyaruzi, coordinator of LGBTI support unit in Tanzania; Ms Monica Mbaru, Africa Programme coordinator for IGLHRC; and Mr Stefano Fabeni, director for LGBTI Initiative for Global Rights, were behind the effort. They hoped the release of the report would raise their plight and inspire Government attention. The three NGOs argue that Tanzania still maintained laws that invade their privacy and create inequality.
"They relegate people to inferior status because of how they look or who they love. They degrade people’s dignity by declaring their most intimate feelings unnatural or illegal," read part of the report. Because of the criminalisation and stigmatisation, they said careers and lives had been destroyed, while promotion of violence and impunity was the daily suffering by the LGBT that drive them underground to live in invisibility and fear.
Among many petitions, the three bodies are pushing for amendment of the Penal Code decriminalising private, consensual, adult same-sex sexual activity as well as reviewing the HIV and Aids (Prevention and Control) Act, 2008, to provide "access to HIV preventive information and services"to LGBT. 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. And a section of religious leaders and the Centre for Human Rights, expressed mixed reactions on the report.
Auxiliary Bishop Method Kilaini of the Dar es Salaam Roman Catholic Archdiocese said lesbians and gays habits were unlawful and harmful to the society and that the practices should not be tolerated. "A man should marry a woman and the two shall form a family, so says the Bible," stressed Bishop Kilaini. However, he said gays and lesbians were part of the community, and should be treated like any other people.
Mr Muhidin Hassan, head of Pilgrimage Department at the National Muslim Council of Tanzania (Bakwata), strongly opposed the presence of such groups of people in society. But favoured the idea of extending HIV preventive information and services to such groups. Mr Francis Kiwanga of the Legal and Human Rights Centre, stressed that every person had the right to privacy as stipulated in the country’s Constitution. He said such people should be allowed to enjoy their freedom and the right of association.
July 2009 – Global Rights.org
The Violations of the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender Persons in The United Republic of Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania acceded to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights1 (ICCPR) on 11 September, 1976. On 13 July, 2009 the country will present its fourth periodic report to the U.N. Human Rights Committee (UNHRC).
The United Republic of Tanzania actively targets private, consensual, adult same-sex relationships for public reprisal and discrimination. This discrimination persists in spite of the growing and consistent international jurisprudence upholding bans on violations of human rights—as guaranteed in the ICCPR—for individuals engaging in same-sex relations. By targeting men who have sex with men (MSM) and women who have sex with women (WSW), Tanzania encourages discrimination and violations of personal privacy in the lives of individuals with non normative sexuality or gender, and especially lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
This shadow report is a collaborative effort of the LGBTI Support Unit2, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Global Rights. We hope that the findings in this report will prove useful to the Human Rights committee in addition to serving as a catalyst for future advocacy efforts.
October 31, 2009 – IGLHRC
Tanzania: Arbitrary Arrests and Detentions of Gay and Lesbian Activists
In July 2009, Tanzania submitted its fourth periodic report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) for consideration at the Committee’s 2628th and 2629th meetings on July 13 and 14 in Geneva, Switzerland. At the meetings, the UNHRC urged Tanzania to decriminalize same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults and implement laws that protect sexual minorities.
Since the UNHRC Concluding Observations have been publicized by the media and the Tanzania Human Rights Commission, there has been a considerable backlash against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Tanzania criminalizes homosexuality under Section 154 of the Penal Code, and LGBT people already suffer persecution and violence at the hands of state and non-state actors. Attacks have reportedly become more direct and aggressive following media coverage of the UNHRC’s recommendations, particularly by individuals acting with the encouragement of the police.
Targets have included those perceived to have given information to the UNHRC – especially those who reported human rights violations against sexual minorities for the shadow report that the Centre for Human Rights Promotion, IGLHRC and Global Rights submitted for review.
On June 19, 2009, well-known gay activists, Zuberi Juma (also known as Aunty Zuberi), 22, and Ibrahim Ramadhani (also known as Aunty Suzzy), 23, were arrested and arraigned on charges of debauchery before the magistrate seated at Mwanzo Magomeni. The two detainees were charged alongside seven women arrested for loitering the streets at night and for soliciting sex. Presiding Magistrate Mwanaina Madeni openly ridiculed Juma and Ramadhani, particularly because of how they looked and the clothes they were wearing. When the two denied the charges against them, Madeni mocked them before the open court, asking them, "Wewe ni mwanaume au mwanamke? Mwanaume anakuwa na sauti kama hio? Si unaona wanaume wenzako jinsi walivyo?" ("Are you a man or woman? Does a man have a voice like yours? Look at the men around you and how they look like, do you think you are like them?")1
The accused were denied bail at the hearing, but were later released.
On September 29, 2009, 39 gay and lesbian activists were arrested in the Buguruni area of Dar es Salaam as they were having a meeting and socializing. Following reports of lawlessness in the area, police singled out gay activists as "prostitutes" and "vagrants" and charged them with operating as commercial sex workers under Section 176(a) of the Penal Code.
At their trial, the presiding magistrate denied the 39 activists bail, saying their offenses were "spreading" and an "eye-sore" and should be dealt with without mercy. All 39 of the accused were detained for over two weeks at the local jail. The legal counsel attending to the hearing was able to negotiate bail, and the accused are currently out of custody awaiting their next hearing, scheduled for November 16, 2009.
The imprisonment of people solely on the basis of their real or suspected sexuality violates the principles enshrined under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention Against Torture, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), to all of which Tanzania is a party.
IGLHRC is closely monitoring these trials, particularly in light of the UNHRC Concluding Observations urging Tanzania to review laws which criminalize homosexuality. IGLHRC is working in conjunction with local partners in Tanzania who are pursuing the implementation of the UNHRC’s recommendations prior to Tanzania’s next periodic report.
8 December 2009 – Springer Link
HIV and Related Risk Behavior Among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Zanzibar, Tanzania: Results of a Behavioral Surveillance Survey
Mohammed Dahoma1, Lisa G. Johnston2, Abigail Holman3, Leigh Ann Miller2, Mahmoud Mussa1, Asha Othman1, Ahmed Khatib1, Ramadhan Issa1, Carl Kendall2 and Andrea A. Kim4, 5
(1)Zanzibar AIDS Control Programme, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Zanzibar, Tanzania
(2)Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Department of International Health & Development, Center for Global Health Equity, New Orleans, LA, USA
(3)Association of Schools of Public Health/HHS-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Global AIDS Program, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
(4)HHS-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Global AIDS Program, Atlanta, GA, USA
(5)1600 Clifton Rd, MS E-30, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
We conducted a respondent driven sampling survey to estimate HIV prevalence and risk behavior among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Unguja, Zanzibar. Men aged =15 years living in Unguja and reporting anal sex with another man in the past 3 months were asked to complete a questionnaire and provide specimens for biologic testing. HIV prevalence was 12.3% (95% confidence interval 8.7, 16.3). HIV infection was associated with injecting drugs in the past 3 months, Hepatitis C virus infection and being paid for sex in the past year. Interventions for MSM in Zanzibar are needed and should include linkages to prevention, care and treatment services.
May 5, 2010 – Huffington Post
Tanzania Lutherans Reject Aid From ‘Pro-Gay Marriage’ Churches
by Fredrick Nzwili and Kevin Eckstrom – Religion News Service
Nairobi (RNS/ENI) The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania says it will not accept money or help from groups that allow or support the legalization of same-sex marriages. "Those in same-sex marriages, and those who support the legitimacy of such marriage, shall not be invited to work in the ELCT," says a statement posted to the church’s Web site on April 29. "We further reject their influence in any form, as well as their money and their support." Church officials referred Ecumenical News International to the presiding bishop of the church, the Rev. Alex Malasusa, but neither he nor the ELCT general secretary Brighton Kilewa could be reached.
The statement comes in advance of the 70-million strong Lutheran World Federation assembly in Stuttgart, Germany, from July 20-27, where homosexuality is expected to be a divisive issue. "This church affirms that love is the essence of a relationship between two people who live, or who want to live, together in marriage," the church statement said. "But, with regard to married spouses, this is the love between two people of the opposite sex." The Tanzanian church is the world’s second-largest Lutheran body after the Church of Sweden, which last October deeply angered Lutherans in Africa by allowing the celebration of same-sex marriages.
Last summer, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lifted restrictions on non-celibate gay clergy, and approved a broad local option for congregations that want to bless same-sex relationships.
21 July 2011 – MSM Global Forum
The Human Rights Status of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual in East Africa 2009-2010
by Andiah Kisia and Milka Wahu
Introduction to LGBTI life In East Africa
On January 26th 2010, three weeks after the above judgement was made, David Kato, one of the complainants in the case and one of the people mentioned in the Rolling Stone tabloid as one of 100 homosexuals in Uganda, was assaulted and killed in his home in Mukono District, 27 kilometers outside Kampala.
Until very recently, the lives of LGBTI people in East Africa have been characterized by silence and invisibility. So little was known about the lives of sexual minorities in the region that it was easy for the larger society to imagine that they did not exist at all. So it was that in 1999, during an acceptance speech at a ceremony recognising the Uganda government’s efforts to combat HIV, President Yoweri Museveni could say that male to male transmission of HIV in Uganda was not a problem because “we do not have homosexuals in Uganda.” Within a week of President Museveni’s comments, Kenya’s then President Daniel arap Moi weighed in on the issue, describing homosexuality as unchristian and un-African and vowing not to “shy away from warning Kenyans against the dangers of the scourge.”
For years, public discourse on sexual minorities has been largely confined to vague references to the “problem” of homosexuality in schools and prisons. This, coupled with a lack of representation in any media of individuals self-identifying as gay, lesbian or transgender means that the dialogue has been driven by long held and unquestioned assumptions of the newness and un-Africanness of homosexuality and other sexual and gender minority identifications and practices.
Only within the last decade have sexual and gender minorities in Africa as a whole and East Africa in particular began to speak up against the misplaced notions of who and what they are and by so doing, to stimulate debate within their societies, not always informed or productive, but always spirited, about the nature and rights of same-sex practicing citizens. Unsurprisingly, the increased visibility of LGBTI individuals and groups has resulted in a strong backlash by a conservative society…
View complete report here
November 8, 2011 – Tetu.com
Translated from French
Homophobic laws: Ghana and Tanzania Will Not Yield to British Pressure
by Habibou Bangre
Both countries refuse to change their legislation to comply with the gay rights even if Britain threatens to cut aid. After those of Uganda, it was the turn of the leaders of Tanzania and Ghana to fulminate. They do not digest the threat of British Prime Minister David Cameron to cut aid to countries not respecting the rights of homosexuals (read our article). "Accept this condition is almost impossible. We do not choose this option. They can stop using if they want, "launched on November 3, concerning the marriage of homosexuals, Dr Ali Mohammed Shein, president of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous archipelago of Tanzania who vote in 2004 a law criminalizing homosexuality.
"I, as president of Ghana, can never bear to initiate an attempt to legalize homosexuality in Ghana", for his part declared November 2nd President John Atta-Mills, noting that David Cameron had not a "dictate to other sovereign nations what they should do."
"Our position on this issue is very clear, added Bernard Membe, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Tanzania, a country of East Africa. Our moral values and our culture will always take the top even though we are poor. We understand the problem of the Conservative Party of Great Britain but we will not yield to pressure." The foreign minister added that the attitude of Great Britain threatened to divide the Commonwealth, which groups in majority and its former colonies of 54 or 41 members have a homophobic legislation. He further stated that this year, he had denied accreditation of a diplomat than a gay Western countries want to detach.
LGBT Fear of Backlash
In a statement, eight gay Ghanaian associations contacted London not to play the diplomatic card to support the LGBT Africans. Their fear: that a withdrawal of aid "increases the level of stigma, violence and discrimination against LGBT people in Africa" and that health facilities review their gay-friendly policy. Some of these associations are part of the fifty African organizations that have recently launched an appeal against British threats, creating "a real risk of backlash against LGBTI"