Speaking to journalists on Friday, the President of Burundi - Évariste Ndayishimiye - called for the violent persecution of the LGBTQ community.
“If you want to attract a curse to the country, accept homosexuality...” said President Ndayishimiye - according to reporting by Reuters. “I think that if we find these kinds of people in Burundi, it is better to take them to a stadium and stone them, and that cannot be a sin. That’s what they deserve."
While systemic and state-sponsored homophobia is nothing new, hearing a country's president openly calling for the violent persecution of queer people is horrifying.
Burundi has numerous economic and civil problems. President Ndayishimiye's attack on LGBTQ people is clearly a scapegoating distraction from the day-to-day issues that his country is struggling with.
There's nothing new about scapegoating, but it significantly heightens the risks for queer people in Burundi.
What's life like for LGBTQ people in Burundi?
What’s life like for LGBTQ people in Burundi? Let’s take a look at some of the key equality indicators.
Is homosexuality legal in Burundi?
Same-sex sexual encounters are illegal in Burundi. The penalty is a fine and up to two years in prison.
Authorities are actively prosecuting LGBTQ people for same-sex sexual activity.
Are there anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in Burundi?
LGBTQ people in Burundi have no protection from discrimination based on sexuality.
Is there Marriage Equality in Burundi?
There is no legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Burundi.
The constitution of Burundi explicitly prohibits same-sex marriages.
What’s life like for LGBTQ people living in Burundi?
Burundi is a socially conservative country and homosexuality is seen as a taboo subject.
Homophobia is systemic, and authorities deliberately harass and persecute LGBTQ people