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Burundi’s president wants to round up gay people & stone them to death in a stadium

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The president of Burundi joined the chorus of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment among sub-Saharan African leaders on Friday by calling for the persecution of gay people in their countries.

“If you want to attract a curse to the country, accept homosexuality,” Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye told reporters, according to Reuters.

At an event in the tiny landlocked nation south of Uganda, Ndayishimiye remarked that gay people in his country should be rounded up and taken to a stadium where they would be stoned.

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“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,” Mr. Ndayishimiye said during an event in the country’s eastern Cankuzo Province, where he answered questions from journalists and the public.

“That’s what they deserve,” he added.

While the president’s remarks don’t carry the force of law, they’re an indication of the growing anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes among government officials and public citizens that have been generally spreading across the region.

The punishment for same-sex relations in Burundi is currently two years imprisonment.

Like leaders in nearby Uganda and Kenya, Ndayishimiye accused Western nations of forcing gay rights on Africa in exchange for aid.

“Let them keep it,” he said.

Ndayishimiye’s remarks follow Uganda’s passage of the country’s second “Kill the Gays” law in March, signed enthusiastically by that country’s president Yoweri Museveni in May of last year. The law, officially titled the Anti-Homosexuality Act, provides the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” defined as same-sex acts by anyone infected with HIV or any same-sex act involving children, the disabled, or a coerced victim.

Those “promoting” homosexuality in Uganda by any means, like providing services or renting space to known gay people or organizations, are subject to fines and prison time.

All but two of the Christian-majority nation’s 389 members of parliament voted for the bill. The law is currently being challenged in the country’s Constitutional Court.

Following Museveni’s signature, the U.S. announced visa restrictions and Uganda’s expulsion from a U.S.-led trade pact over the country’s  “gross violations” of human rights and other eligibility requirements.

Last year, lawmakers in Kenya introduced a copycat “Kill the Gays” law making its way through parliament. The proposed law includes the “expulsion of refugees and asylum seekers who breach the law” and would mandate “psychotherapy and rehabilitation of offenders,” raising the prospect of reeducation camps and forced conversion therapy for queer people.

The introduction of Kenya’s Family Protection Bill followed a summit of anti-LGBTQ+ activist lawmakers in Uganda in March organized by Family Watch International, an Arizona-based organization committed to spreading anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion ideology around the world. The group was instrumental in crafting Uganda’s original Kill the Gays bill in 2009.

In Uganda and Kenya’s wake, anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and prosecutions have spread to other African nations including Ghana, Zambia, and Tanzania, where authorities have vowed to prosecute anyone caught sharing LGBTQ+ content online.   


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