World Leader Calls for Violence

World Leader Calls for Violence

( – Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye has ignited international condemnation after openly advocating for the stoning of LGBTQ+ individuals in the East African nation.

During a public Q&A session on December 29th, Ndayishimiye launched into a tirade against LGBTQ+ rights, claiming their very existence brings a curse upon Burundi. He went so far as to propose a horrific solution: gathering all suspected LGBTQ+ people in a stadium and subjecting them to stoning, a practice he deemed sinless for the perpetrators.

The Catholic president’s remarks, painting LGBTQ+ identity as a binary choice between God and Satan, were met with immediate backlash. He declared queer Burundians residing abroad, who he branded as “Satan’s followers,” unwelcome in their own country. Ndayishimiye essentially demanded that LGBTQ+ people remain invisible within Burundi’s borders, urging them to keep their “Western habits” out of his nation.

This latest instance of hate speech comes amidst a longstanding, brutal crackdown on Burundi’s LGBTQ+ community.

Homosexuality in Burundi has been illegal since 2009, with individuals engaging in consensual same-gender relations facing imprisonment for up to two years. As of 2011, students suspected of being LGBTQ+ can face expulsion from school, and a 2012 UN Human Rights Council report revealed a young person being subjected to hours of punishment, including being “tied to a pole,” for being gay.

In February, a security crackdown on “homosexual practices and incitement to homosexual practices” in Gitega, Burundi’s political capital, led to the arrest of 24 individuals. According to an activist speaking to AFP, those detained were associated with MUCO Burundi, a non-profit organization focusing on HIV and AIDS, and were in Gitega for a seminar. The activist dismissed the allegations against them as “absurd and baseless.”

A week before the arrests, Ndayishimiye urged the citizens of Burundi to condemn individuals engaged in homosexuality, stating that it goes against God’s will. He emphasized the need to exile and ostracize them from our country.

In 2017, Burundi’s police declared an “official hunt” for LGBTQ+ individuals following the arrest of several queer people, including teenagers, who were coerced into paying exorbitant bribes for their release.

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