Human Rights Watch Warns of Homophobic Rhetoric by President of Burundi

The President of the East African country Burundi, Évariste Ndayishimiye, believes that homosexuals should be stoned, according to Human Rights Watch. Recent homophobic statements by President Ndayishimiye are causing concern for the human rights organisation, which is now cautioning LGBT+ activists in the country for a worsening situation.
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" If you want to curse the country, then you must accept homosexuality," said President Ndayishimiye to journalists at the end of last year. "I even think that these people, if we find them in Burundi, should be stoned in a stadium." The president claims that homosexuality has been imported from the West.

Human Rights Watch is worried about the well-being of LGBT+ individuals in the country. An LGBT+ activist in Burundi told the human rights organisation, "Very quickly, there were thousands of threatening reactions and calls for murder on social media networks, each one more gruesome than the other." HRW criticises the EU and the US for not labelling the remarks as homophobic but only emphasising that "all rights must be respected."

The statements by the president are reminiscent of those made by leaders in other African countries, where homosexuality is used to express disdain for the West. For instance, Uganda has passed one of the world's strictest anti-LGBT+ laws, including cases where the death penalty is imposed for homosexuality. Efforts to adopt stricter legislation are also underway in Tanzania and Ghana.

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