During the debate, I learnt that 13 lawyers and activists in Tanzania had just been released on bail. They had been arrested last week and charged with the so-called crime of promoting homosexuality, which crime does not exist under Tanzania’s penal code. They were released on bail, and then rearrested. Their so-called crime was simply to challenge the country’s arbitrary ban on HIV care centres. During their detention in Dar es Salaam, the police applied to the courts in Tanzania to carry out forced medical examinations to establish whether or not those individuals were homosexual. Fortunately, the courts denied the application. There could not be a more sobering reminder of what is happening around the world in countries that, as my right hon. Friend the Minister just said, are friends of our own country, are members of the Commonwealth and have signed up to UN and Commonwealth charter commitments.
It is right that across the House, on an entirely non-partisan basis, Members of all parties have spoken out against these terrible abuses of LGBT rights, which are abuses of human rights. We have sent a signal today—and I am grateful that both Her Majesty’s Opposition and the Government have reinforced that signal—that abuses of LGBT rights cannot be tolerated, and that we expect and look to the authorities in the countries concerned to uphold the universal commitments to which every country has signed up.
We should not be fearful of taking a stance on these issues, because activists in those countries are looking to us—their friends and allies—to take such a stance. I am grateful to Members in all parts of the House for doing so today.
Question put and agreed to.
That this House
has considered global LGBT rights.