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Persecution of Gays, Lesbians Angers Human Rights Watch

The international human rights watchdog, Human Rights Watch, has written a strongly-worded letter to President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai calling for the immediate end to the police persecution of members of the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ).

In a statement, the organisation said the latest police raid on the group’s offices shows the government’s intolerance on the rights of Zimbabwe’s sexual and gender minorities.

Police recently raided GALZ offices and arrested 44 members who were released without being charged for allegedly distributing illegal material which the state said promoted homosexuality.

Another human rights group, the Washington-based Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights, has also voiced concern over the harassment of the activists saying the continued assault on the group "is indicative of larger, worrisome trends".

Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Tiseke Kasambala said they hope President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai will act to stop the persecution.

Cephas Zinhumwe, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisation (NANGO) said his organisation stands with gays and lesbians of Zimbabwe.

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