April 19, 2024

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President Ndayishimiye’s Remarks Spark International Concern over Human Rights in Burundi

Our Reporter

In a recent press statement, the United States expressed deep concern over President Evariste Ndayishimiye’s remarks targeting vulnerable and marginalized groups in Burundi. The President’s call to stone gay people has caused tension on sexual minorities in a country where LGBT individuals already face social ostracism and potential imprisonment.

President Ndayishimiye made these remarks during a question and answer session with journalists and the public in Burundi’s eastern region. He stated, “If you want to attract a curse to the country, accept homosexuality… I even think that these people, if we find them in Burundi, it is better to lead them to a stadium and stone them. And that cannot be a sin,” while describing homosexuality as a Western import.

The international community has condemned these remarks as a clear violation of human rights and a dangerous incitement of violence against an already marginalized community.

In the meantime, the homosexuality is not well-received in Africa, hence some people called it “the Western propagation of homosexuality and a propaganda against African culture which prohibits homosexuals as a seen against God’s will”.

The United States, in its press statement, called on all of Burundi’s leaders to respect the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of every member of society, including equal access to justice.

This escalation of intolerance towards LGBT people in Burundi is part of a worrying trend in Africa. With neighboring countries also adopting stricter measures against sexual minorities, the situation for LGBT individuals in Africa is becoming increasingly precarious.

In Burundi, same-sex offenses are already punishable by up to two years in jail. However, President Ndayishimiye’s comments not only reinforce this discriminatory law but also promote violence against LGBT individuals. Human rights organizations fear that such rhetoric from the highest office could further marginalize and endanger the lives of the LGBTQ+ community in Burundi.

The international community is urging Burundi’s leaders to reconsider their stance on human rights and to take immediate action to protect the rights of all citizens. They emphasize that respect for human rights is not only a moral obligation but also an essential precursor for economic growth and improved conditions for all Burundians.

As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how the government of Burundi will respond to the international outcry and calls for change. In the meantime, human rights organizations continue to advocate for the rights and safety of LGBT individuals in Burundi and across the region.

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