UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights Navi Pillay

Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister has told the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay that the country will continue to arrest gays.

Pillay – a vocal supporter of LGBT equality – has been visiting the country by invitation of the coalition government to assess human rights violations.

On Monday, after meeting the South African-born Pillay in Harare, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told reporters that in his discussions with the commissioner he had denied that there was any state-sponsored violence or torture in Zimbabwe.

He went on to add: “We made it clear that in our law homosexual activities are criminalised and that any person who commits homosexual activities will be arrested.”

Pillay has repeatedly called on states to ensure that LGBT people have equal rights under the law. “States must repeal discriminatory laws and ban discriminatory practices: punish violence and hatred, not love,” she said recently.

Gay sex, along with members of the same sex holding hands, hugging or kissing, is illegal in Zimbabwe with penalties of up to three years in jail.

Earlier this month, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo called for traditional leaders to seize land owned by gays and lesbians.

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