November 11, 2018 / 5:53 AM / 2 days ago

U.S. concerned by rising attacks on human rights in Tanzania

FILE PHOTO: Tanzanian President John Magufuli leaves after inspecting a guard of honour during an official visit to Kenya, October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - The United States has spoken out against Tanzanian moves to cut back human rights and civil liberties, including arrests and harassment of “marginalized” people such as homosexuals.

President John Magufuli’s government has been criticized by opposition politicians and international rights groups for what they say is growing authoritarianism and intolerance of dissent. The government rejects the criticism.

“We are troubled by the continued arrests and harassment of marginalized persons, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and others who seek to exercise their rights to freedom of speech, association and assembly,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement seen by Reuters on Sunday.

There was no immediate comment from Tanzanian authorities.

The United States earlier this month warned its citizens in Tanzania to be cautious after the commercial capital Dar es Salaam announced a crackdown on homosexuality, a criminal offense.

“The deteriorating state of human rights and rule of law in Tanzania inhibits development, economic prosperity, peace, and security,” the U.S. statement said, urging the government to safeguard people’s rights.

Reporting by Nuzulack Dausen; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Nick Macfie

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