President’s Anti-Gay Declaration
Burundi’s President, Evariste Ndayishimiye, ignited controversy by advocating for the public stoning of same-sex couples during a recent public event.
His statement comes amid the nation’s strict anti-LGBT laws and conservative societal beliefs.
Repressive Stance on Homosexuality
Homosexuality has been deemed a criminal act in Burundi since 2009, resulting in severe penalties of up to two years’ imprisonment for consensual same-sex relationships.
Ndayishimiye vehemently condemned same-sex marriage, labeling it as an “abominable practice.”
Public Call for Stoning
The President’s shocking declaration proposed stoning individuals engaged in same-sex relationships in a public stadium, asserting that such actions would not be deemed sinful.
Criticism of Western Influence
Ndayishimiye criticized Western nations that pressure smaller countries to endorse gay marriage by threatening to withhold aid.
He expressed a strong sentiment, suggesting that those practicing homosexuality abroad should refrain from returning to Burundi.
International Reaction and Regional Context
The President’s remarks align with the repressive stance of several East African nations, where homosexuality remains illegal.
The region’s history of hostility towards LGBT communities, driven by conservative religious beliefs, continues to fuel discrimination.
Global Outcry and Sanctions
The international community, recalling Uganda’s stringent anti-homosexuality laws, reacted strongly, with the World Bank and Washington imposing sanctions and restrictions in response to such legislation.
Burundi’s Prior Actions Against LGBT
Burundi’s recent crackdown on same-sex relationships involved legal action against individuals accused of “homosexual practices,” following Ndayishimiye’s call for society to ostracize and weed out homosexuality.
President’s Leadership and Human Rights Concerns
Since assuming office after President Pierre Nkurunziza’s passing, Ndayishimiye’s administration has faced both praise and criticism.
While commended for ending isolation, concerns persist regarding the nation’s human rights record and its status as one of the world’s poorest countries.