Saturday, December 30, 2023
In a shocking development, Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye has called for the public stoning of same-sex couples, further intensifying the country’s harsh stance against homosexuality. The president, a Catholic, labeled the union of same-sex couples as an “abominable practice” during a public event in the eastern part of the country on Friday.
Burundi has maintained a stringent anti-LGBTQ stance since 2009, criminalizing same-sex acts with prison sentences of up to two years. Ndayishimiye’s recent remarks add a disturbing dimension to the already repressive environment for the LGBTQ community in the conservative Christian nation.
“Personally, I think if we see these kind of individuals in Burundi we should put them in a stadium and stone them. And it would not be a sin for those who do,” declared President Ndayishimiye in response to a question posed at the public event, a statement broadcast by Burundian media.
The president also condemned Western nations for pressuring smaller countries to recognize gay rights under the threat of losing aid. “Let them keep their help, let them keep it,” he declared defiantly.
Furthermore, Ndayishimiye urged Burundians living abroad who engage in homosexuality to stay away, stating that those who have “chosen the devil” and practice such behavior should not return to the country.
Burundi’s anti-LGBTQ sentiments align with a broader trend in East Africa, where many countries maintain laws criminalizing homosexuality, often fueled by conservative religious beliefs. Earlier this year, in March, Burundi charged 24 individuals with “homosexual practices” as part of a crackdown on same-sex relationships.
The international community has been critical of such anti-LGBTQ measures in the region. Uganda, for example, faced global condemnation after adopting stringent anti-gay laws in May, leading to trade deal repercussions from the United States and visa restrictions on officials.
President Ndayishimiye, who assumed power in June 2020, has received praise for efforts to end Burundi’s isolation from the international community. However, concerns persist about the country’s human rights record, and despite these positive gestures, Burundi remains one of the poorest nations on the planet.