The President of Burundi has called for LGBTQ people in the African nation to be stoned for identifying as LGBTQ.
Evariste Ndayishimiye was speaking at a Q&A session with journalists on Friday (29 December) when he offered his opinion.
“If you want to attract a curse to the country, accept homosexuality,” Ndayishimiye said as per Reuters. He then went on to say: “It is better to lead [LGBTQ people] to a stadium and stone them. And that cannot be a sin.”
Same-sex relations are punished under Burundi’s penal code with a maximum penalty of 2 years in jail. The Human Dignity Trust reports that the law, which has only existed from 2009, has not led to any successful prosecutions. However, LGBTQ people may have been extorted as well as having experienced discrimination and violence.
Gay marriage is also not legal in Burundi. A 2016 poll found that 86% of people opposed having LGBTQ people as neighbours as per Equaldex.
Ndayishimiye’s comments are the latest in an anti-LGBTQ sentiment in the region.
Last year nearby Uganda passed a law that can impose life sentences for consensual same sex relations. It also includes the death penalty for certain “aggravated” cases.
The law has been strongly condemned by politicians and activists. But Lady Phyll, the CEO of UK Black Pride, gave a hopeful message in December.
“My message to LGBTI+ people in Uganda, we see you and we will do all we can in our advocacy efforts, diplomatic engagement and obtaining resources and funding for you to continue supporting your communities. We will not be silent about the injustices you face.”
In August a man in Uganda was charged with “aggravated homosexuality,” which can be punished with the death penalty. Child abuse has been included as something that would be considered “aggravated homosexuality,” though the man was reportedly arrested for “performing unlawful sexual intercourse” with an adult man.