U.S. expresses deep concern over Burundian President’s ‘stone gay people’ comment

Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye in Bujumbura, Burundi on May 6, 2023. REUTERS
Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye in Bujumbura, Burundi on May 6, 2023. Souce: REUTERS

Washington, D.C. – The has voiced concern over comments made by Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye, who urged citizens to stone gay people.

The remarks have heightened the crackdown on individuals in , who already face social exclusion and potential jail terms of up to two years for same-sex offences.

In response to the controversial statements, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller stated on Friday, stating, “The United States is deeply troubled by President Ndayishimiye's remarks targeting certain vulnerable and marginalized Burundians.”

The statement further called on all leaders in Burundi to uphold the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of every member of society, emphasizing equal access to justice.

While the U.S. statement did not explicitly reference the call for stoning LGBTQ individuals, it underlined the broader concern about the comments made by President Ndayishimiye.

This development follows a trend of increasing hostility towards LGBTQ+ individuals in various African countries where sodomy is illegal.

In May, enacted a law with the death penalty for specific same-sex offences.

In response, the United States implemented sanctions, including travel restrictions and the removal of Uganda from its tariff-free trade deal.

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