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Tanzania: Treatment of homosexuals particularly in the city of Dar-es-Salaam

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 July 1999
Citation / Document Symbol TZA32243.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Tanzania: Treatment of homosexuals particularly in the city of Dar-es-Salaam, 1 July 1999, TZA32243.E, available at: [accessed 27 October 2021]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


According to The Pink Book: A Global View of Lesbian and Gay Liberation and Oppression, Sections 154 to 157 of the Penal Code of Tanzania makes homosexual acts between men an illegal offence punishable with a maximum of fourteen years' imprisonment (1993, 332).  The source further states that "prosecution occurs very rarely" and "homosexual acts between women are not mentioned" (ibid.).

A Human Rights Committee on the Review of Civil and Political Rights in Tanzania, found that  homosexuality is a "criminal offence under the penal code and anyone caught in such an act could be tried" (24 July 1998).  At the 1998 Anglican Bishops' Conference at Lambeth, Canterbury, England, the Tanzanian Bishop reportedly amended the resolution on homosexuality, which was voted overwhelmingly, to read that "homosexual practice was incompatible with Scripture."  (6 Aug. 1998).

According to the Refugee Law Centre (RLC) in Britain, quoted in RefWorld,

In a telephone conversation with the Tanzania Human Rights Association (Dar-es-Salaam, 1st December 1994, the RLC was told that homosexuality is a 'most serious crime' in Tanzania and that someone might be jailed for 7 years for an offence. Further details were promised in response to a written request. In addition, the Tanzania High Commission in London confirmed that homosexuality is illegal and punishable by imprisonment. They were unable to confirm the length of prison sentences (telephone conversation with the  RLC 30 November 1994)

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please see the list of  additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


DPI - Press Releases. 24 July 1998. "Human Rights Committee Concludes Review of Civil and Political Rights in Tanzania" [Accessed": 23 July 1997]

New York Times [New York]. 6 August 1998. "Anglican Conference Takes Tough Line on Homosexuals." (NEXIS)

Refugee Law Centre (RLC), London. 1 December 1994. Information Request TZA11/1/94 (REFWORLD).

The Third Pink Book: A Global View of Lesbian and Gay Liberation and Oppression. Edited by Aart Hendricks, et al. 1993. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Confidential [London]. January - June 1999. Vols.38-39. Nos. 1-25.

Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series [Oxford]. 1997-1998. Vols. 34-35. Nos. 1-12.

Amnesty International. 1998. Amnesty International Report 1998. New York: Amnesty International USA.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1998. 1999. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Press.

The Indian Ocean Newsletter [Paris]. Weekly. January 1998-April 1999. Nos. 793-854.

Keesing's Record of World Events [Cambridge]. January 1998-January 1999. Monthly. Vols. 44-45.

Electronic sources: IRB databases, Internet, LEXIS/NEXIS, World Network Connection (WNC).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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