• Ulla Tornaes has highlighted the importance of human rights to Denmark. (Getty Images)
"I am very concerned about the negative development in Tanzania."
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

16 Nov 2018 - 1:37 PM  UPDATED 16 Nov 2018 - 1:37 PM

Denmark has announced that it will withhold roughly $13.7 million in aid from Tanzania, following a number of anti-gay comments from politicians in the African country. Denmark is currently Tanzania's second largest aid donor.

Denmark's Development Minister Ulla Tornaes took to social media to share the news, adding that she was "very concerned" by the comments - which included the announcement of a 'round-up' of gay people.

"I am very concerned about the negative development in Tanzania. Most recently the totally unacceptable homophobic statements from a commissioner," Tornaes tweeted.

"I have therefore decided to withhold DKK 65m in the country."

She added: "Respect for human rights is crucial for Denmark."

The bold move came after the European Union (EU) condemned the treatment of LGBTIQ+ people in Tanzania, sharing a statement last week.

"The EU regrets the deterioration of the human rights and rule of law situation in Tanzania and will be conducting a broad review of its relations with Tanzania," the statement read.

According to BBC News, Paul Makonda, the governor of Tanzanian city Dar es Salaam, announced an imminent "round-up" of gay people late October of this year, telling local journalists that the crackdown would start with sweeps of social media.

Makonda, a strong ally of notoriously anti-gay President John Magufuli, added that he was unfazed by the prospect of upsetting pro-LGBTIQ+ countries.

"I prefer to anger those countries than to anger God," he said.

Under colonial-era laws, homosexual acts are illegal in Tanzania, where HIV clinics have been systematically closed down in recent years for allegedly promoting homosexuality.

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