Burundi announces ‘official hunt’ for LGBTI people

Map of Burundi and neighboring countries. (Map courtesy of Operation World)
Map of Burundi and neighboring countries. (Map courtesy of Operation World)

The small Central African nation of Burundi last month declared an “official hunt” for LGBTI people. Under the nation’s laws, people convicted of sexual activity with another member of the same sex are subject to from three months to two years in prison.

Location du Burundi en Afrique.
Location of Burundi in Africa.

In its Equal Eyes recap of the world’s LGBTI news, UNAIDS reported:

Several LGBTI people, including teenagers, are being held in jails and forced to pay extortionate bribes for their freedom. Those who can’t afford it face beatings, extreme fines or up to two years’ imprisonment.

Nestled between Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania, the landlocked country of Burundi was one of 13 to vote against the United Nations ban on using the death penalty for gay people.

Police announced the ‘hunt’ for homosexuals on 6 October, informing the media ‘several’ had been arrested. ‘The reason is just they are gay, and the government says it is against Burundian culture,’ Bakari Ubena, a human rights journalist, told Gay Star News.

It is believed the UN motion had ‘some influence on the crackdown’. Both gay and trans people face arrests. ‘Gay people must have a hidden life,’ Ubena added. ‘LGBT associations have been closed by police.’

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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