Burundi’s President, Évariste Ndayishimiye, has sparked alarm with recent remarks targeting LGBTQ+ individuals in the country.
During a public address, the president called for severe actions against same-sex couples, advocating for public stoning and dismissing Western pressure to embrace LGBTQ+ rights.
Homosexuality has been outlawed in Burundi since 2009, with significant penalties for those involved in consensual same-sex relationships. Echoing strong anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments, President Ndayishimiye labelled same-sex marriage as an “abominable practice” and suggested public stoning as a punitive measure, even asserting that it would not be considered a sin for those who carry out such acts.
He also criticised Western nations that link aid provision to LGBTQ+ rights acceptance, declaring, “Let them keep their help.”
The president’s stance echoes similar sentiments in other East African countries, where conservative religious beliefs often fuel legal restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights. However, international backlash against such views, as seen in Uganda’s strict anti-LGBTQ+ laws, has led to repercussions such as visa restrictions and trade deal removal by the United States.
While President Ndayishimiye is credited with ending Burundi’s isolation, concerns persist over the nation’s poor human rights record, and it continues to grapple with significant poverty.
Moreover, Catholic bishops from various African nations, including Nigeria, Cameroun, Malawi, Zambia, and others, have collectively reaffirmed the Church’s opposition to homosexual unions. The recent Vatican document, “Fiducia Supplicans,” received unanimous support from these bishops, emphasising the Church’s stance against blessing same-sex unions and activities.
This unified position emphasises the Church’s doctrinal teaching, citing homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered” and contrary to natural law, as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 2357). Bishops from different nations, such as Cameroun and Malawi, explicitly prohibited any blessings for same-sex unions within their respective churches.