Denmark freezes aid to Tanzania in wake of homophobic rhetoric

Danish development minister Ulla Tornaes who made the decision to cut aid to Tanzania addresses the the 2018 Global Citizen Festiva

Danish development minister Ulla Tornaes announced the decision to cut aid to Tanzania over its anti-gay crackdown on Twitter

"I'm very concerned about the negative development in Tanzania - most recently the completely unacceptable homophobic statements from a commissioner", Ulla Tørnæs, the development minister, wrote on Twitter.

Torneas has also postponed a trip to Tanzania. "Respect for human rights is crucial for Denmark".

The comments were reportedly made by Paul Makonda, the Administrative Chief of the capital Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania has seen its 2nd biggest donor Denmark withhold aid to the country after what was described as "unacceptable homophobic statements".

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The foreign ministry has previously said Makonda's anti-gay campaign represented his own views and not the official government position.

Earlier this month, ten men were arrested for allegedly conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. Denmark provided 349 million crowns in foreign aid a year ago.

The European Union has recalled its ambassador.

However, President John Magufuli's government has also been criticised by opposition politicians and global rights groups for what they say is growing authoritarianism and intolerance of dissent. The government rejects the criticism.

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Human Rights Watch said Mr Magufuli's Government "has restricted basic rights through repressive laws and decrees" targeting journalists, activists and perceived opponents.

In a statement, the World Bank said: "The World Bank supports policies that encourage girls' education and make it possible for young women to stay in school until they reach their full potential".

Denmark's minister for development co-operation, Ulla Tornaes announced that human rights was paramount to Denmark, consequently effecting the decision to withhold 65 million Danish crowns ($9.88 million) from Tanzania.

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