Burundi has announced an ‘official hunt’ for LGBTI people.
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.’