By Melanie Nathan, December 30, 2023.
President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi, a predominantly Christian country in East Africa, has lashed out against the gays by saying he is abhorred by the idea of same-sex marriage and that all homosexuals should be put in a stadium and stoned by the people. Ndayishimiye a Catholic, also suggested that African Nations rather lose aid from Western countries than risk same-sex marriage. This vicious rant by Ndayishimiye, who took office in 2020, comes on the heels of the Pope's new stance on same-sex marriage and Uganda's President calling for gay genocide.
It is apparent now that the President of Burundi has joined in the quest for the genocide of LGBT people, as incited very specifically by President Museveni of Uganda, when after attesting to Uganda's new Kill the Gays Bill, called for African leaders to help 'rid the world of homosexuality.' Burundi, which criminalized SOGIESC in 2009, has had a long record of anti gay persecution with many LGBTI people fleeing the country for protection. In March of this year 24 Burundians were arrested and charged with homosexual practices in a Government crackdown on same-sex relationships.
PIC: President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi
African Human Rights Coalition (AHRC) is providing safe housing, food, medicine and advocacy in refugee and protection environments for a large group Francophone refugees, who are further marginalized and often excluded from services in English speaking protection environment. Many LGBTQI+ people have fled Burundi for other countries, some of which also criminalize LGBT people, indicating the ongoing lack of swift and safe protection paths for LGBT Burundians and other Africans escaping similar oppressive regimes. Unfortunately there are Ugandans who have crossed the Burundian border seeking UNHCR protection in Burundi, with no other protection routes seemingly available to them. So Ugandans face yet another hostile host venue which is proving very difficult for LGBTI refugees. African Human Rights Coalition (AHRC) is providing financial aid to several refugees in Burundi as UNHCR has been unable to provide the accommodations and support needed in such hostile an environment.
(AHRC is available for briefings and is seeking further funding in the Burundian venue and for all our Francophone shelters.)
Never before has the anti homosexuality on the continent of Africa been at such a heightened fervor as it has been in 2023.
In AHRC assessment OF THE AFRICAN CONTINENT, this year seen more unlawful detentions, arrests, evictions, banishments, sexual violence, assaults in more countries than ever before, heightened by the rhetoric by politicians and the passage, pending passage or threat of passage of new anti LGBTI laws. Enforcement has been high and where there has been no enforcement the laws or lack thereof license state and non-state actors to exact retribution and punitive measures against LGBTQI+ people.
Much can be attributed both to the anti-LGBT leadership of Uganda by President Yoweri Museveni, the copycat legislations appearing in other Parliaments such as Ghana, and the backlash as the Pope announces new Catholic Church directives, essentially a policy of tolerance, (see HERE ). Lest we fail to include the ultimate underpin to all this, the underlying push by American Evangelicals with their promotion of extreme anti-LGBT laws on the continent, pouring many millions and many years into the endeavor. ( HERE)
Despite the fervent promise by Ghana's Speaker of Parliament's to pass the new "Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill," a name that smacks American Evangelical, the bill was not yet passed, with an analysis to come at AHRC's news page. That does not mitigate the harsh anti LGBT climate in Ghana due to much publicity and attention around the new law, exacerbated by the usual flow of rhetoric such as delivered by Ghana's former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo: "Don't shove homosexuality into my face" in her latest anti-gay remarks, noting that that LGBTQ "goes against our cultural norms."
She said she won't accept it being seen in the public arena; added that a union between persons of same-sex cannot be called marriage. Madam Sophia Akuffo said that Ghana has not forced polygamy on the west and should not be forced to accept LGBTQ. She also added that "let's go slow with copying." On the anti-LGBTQ Bill, she said she had not read it but follows the discussion held by Parliament on the proposed legislation. She was interviewed by Bridget Otoo in an interview which was aired yesterday on Metro TV. This is the second time former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo has publicly made anti-LGBTQ Bill comments this year. LINK HERE
Namibia also saw new legislation this year which will also be analyzed by AHRC at the start of the new year. Zimbabwean and Zambian Catholic Bishops are lashing out against and refuse to abide the Pope's direction for same-sex marriage blessings, which is no wonder as fear is bound to grip those who could then be committing crimes by aligning as allies or supporters for LGBTQI+ people in most of the 30 Plus criminalizing countries. ( LINK HERE) This above mentions only a few countries. We cannot forget that over 30 African countries criminalize LGBTQI+ people. In all 54 countries, excluding South Africa, homophobia is at an all time high. Sadly South Africa, the one African country with a fully inclusive Mandela led constitution has failed miserably when it comes to opening up its doors to protecting LGBTQI+ from northern countries. South Africa is plagues by corruption, high crime and defunct home affairs department. At African Human Rights Coalition we continue to work with persecuted and violated LGBTQI+ individuals in and from African countries, at all phases of the displacement cycle, to include protection and resettlement pathways, provide guidance, emergency relocations and extrications, safe shelter, food, medical emergencies, ad hoc case and general advocacy, legal service referrals and resources, country conditions expert testimony, as and when funds are available.
(DONATIONS MUCH NEEDED GO DIRECTLY TO PROGRAMS)
(Melanie Nathan is Country Conditions Expert WitnessTestifying on behalf of LGBTQI+ asylum seekers from Burundi in the U.S. immigration and Global Courts. She also provides reports and testimony for several other African countries to include Zimbabwe, Angola, Rwanda, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Zambia, Senegal and more. ( See HERE.))
Pic: Former Chief Justice Ghana
More Reading on Ghana: U.S. Embassy Ghana Warns LGBTQi+ Travelers
Ghana - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution. Updated to reflect threats against LGBTQI+ travelers. Exercise increased caution in Ghana due to crime and violence against members of the LGBTQI+ community. Some areas have increased risk. https://www.africanhrc.org/single-post/u-s-embassy-ghana-warns-lgbtqi-travelers https://www.africanhrc.org/single-post/the-new-ghana-anti-lgbtq-bill-is-hiccuping-in-parliament