Burundi President Stokes Fear Among LGBT People

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01/18/2024

In an ever-worsening climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in East Africa, Burundian president Évariste Ndayishimiye has added fuel to the fire. Speaking with journalists on December 29, he said, “if you want to attract a curse to the country, accept homosexuality,” and “it is better to take [LGBT people] to a stadium and stone them” because “that’s what they deserve.” The reaction was swift. One LGBT activist in Burundi who requested anonymity told Human Rights Watch: “Very quickly, on social media networks, a thousand comments from [the president’s] supporters [emerged] with competing threats and calls for murder, each more atrocious than the last.” Many of the comments went further than the president, calling for even more violence and brutal punishments against LGBT people.

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