President of Burudni, Évariste Ndayishimiye (Photo: Lukasz Kobus / European Commission)
Évariste Ndayishimiye, the President of Burundi, has called for the public stoning of gay people in his country.
The BBC reported that President Ndayishimiye made the shocking comment at a press conference after he was asked about Western nations pressuring other countries to uphold LGBTIQ+ rights.
“For me, I think that if we find these people in Burundi they should be taken to stadiums and be stoned, and doing so would not be a crime,” he said.
The president, described as a devout Catholic, linked homosexuality to Satanism and urged LGBTIQ+ Burundians to live elsewhere.
“If you want to choose Satan, now go and live in those countries [in the West] and I think those who strive to go there want to acquire those habits, they should remain there and never bring them to us,” he said.
AFP also noted that Ndayishimiye described same-sex marriage as an “abominable practice”.
Homosexuality was criminalised in the East African country for the first time in its history when the 2009 Penal Code was enacted.
Under the law, any person who engages in consensual sex with someone of the same sex faces up to two years in prison and a fine. In March, 24 people were arrested at an event hosted by an HIV NGO and charged with “homosexual practices”.
The Burundi constitution also outlaws same-sex marriage, and there are no legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Ndayishimiye’s alarming remarks coincide with a surge in anti-LGBTIQ+ sentiment in the region, particularly following the enactment of a stringent Anti-Homosexuality Act in nearby Uganda, That law allows for the execution of those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.”
According to ILGA World, the death penalty is a legally prescribed punishment for consensual same-sex sexual acts in six other UN member states: Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria (in 12 northern states), Saudi Arabia and Yemen.