Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye, a devout Catholic, has called for gay people to be stoned to death.
Trigger Warning: This story discusses homophobic comments, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
Ndayishimiye made the comments during a public Q&A session in eastern Burundi where he equated acceptance of LGBTQI rights with attracting a curse on the nation.
“If you want to attract a curse to the country, accept homosexuality,” Ndayishimiye said in response to a question from a journalist, reported Reuters.
‘Homosexuality Imported From The West’
Claiming that homosexuality was imported from the West, Ndayishimiye made his offensive and dangerous stoning remarks. “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,” the President said.
In Burundi, homosexuality is a crime and consensual same-sex relationships can attract up to two years in prison.
Last year, Uganda passed one of the harshest anti-gay laws, which prescribes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”. Uganda’s law was widely criticised by LGBTQI organisations and other countries, including the US and Canada. In response to the law, some countries and development agencies cut aid to Uganda.
Asked about the cutting of aid due to the enactment of homophobic laws, Ndayishimiye responded, “Let them keep it.”
Around half the countries in Africa criminalise homosexuality. In addition to Uganda, Mauritania, Somalia, and Nigeria punish homosexuality with death.