Burundi’s senate yesterday rejected a revision to its criminal code that would have criminalised homosexuality.

According to reports, 43 senators rejected the bill while 36 voted for the measure. The bill is now set to go back to the Burundian National Assembly for consideration.

Human Rights Watch said the provision would have violated the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Burundi is a party.

It, and other organisations, had called on the African country to drop the provision from the amendment.

The new criminal code was drafted over a period of nearly two years, with the assistance of Burundian and international legal experts, after elections in 2005 restored a democratic system in Burundi and required the revision of legal texts.

However, in October 2008, at the end of the discussion on the bill, the Human Rights and Justice Commission in the National Assembly inserted a provision criminalising “anyone who engages in sexual relations with a person of the same sex.”

The provision would have been the first so-called “sodomy law” in the country’s history and provided for penalties including imprisonment of between three months and two years, and a fine.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend