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Bittersweet Change In Burundi

While gay rights may be advancing in many parts of the world, they just took a step backwards in the East African country of Burundi. According to Amnesty International, Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, [pictured] officially passed changes in law last week, which abolished the death penalty but outlawed homosexuality.

The country’s new Criminal Code therefore makes torture, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity illegal, however people who are found guilty of engaging in consensual same-sex relations risk two to three years in prison and a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 Burundian francs (A$59 to A$119).

Amnesty International’s Africa Programme Director, Erwin van der Borght, is happy that Burundi has become the 93rd country in the world to abolish the death penalty for all crimes, but went on to say, “this good news is undermined by the government’s decision to criminalise homosexuality, in violation of Burundi’s obligations under international and regional human rights law. It also flies in the face of Burundi’s constitution, which guarantees the right to privacy.”

Not only does the new law mean that consenting adults could be tried for their actual or imputed sexual orientation, it also hampers efforts to curb HIV/AIDS.

The new law makes being gay illegal for the first time in the country’s history.

“Burundi has taken a disappointing step backward by legalising discrimination,” said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Programme at Human Rights Watch. “The government has fallen back on ‘custom’ and ‘culture’ to justify this repressive step – but there can be no justification for stripping some of Burundi’s people of their fundamental rights.”

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gregii

gregii said on the 28th Apr, 2009

...and this!!! (see previous)
One step forward and two steps back

Spooky

Spooky said on the 29th Apr, 2009

I love Samesame.com but why do you have an International News page, it is too depressing.
We all know we are hated all over the globe but the suppressed human race wants/needs a scape goat and we are still it.

Wake me up when Robbie and Ricky officially come out.

Sonsie

Sonsie said on the 29th Apr, 2009

Hi Spooky, I do share and understand your sentiments.
However, I feel strongly that International news though depressing makes an important contribution to where we are and what we stand for. In a way, no wars were won without fighting...........the abolishment of the death sentence is a start

Spooky

Spooky said on the 1st May, 2009

Hi Spooky, I do share and understand your sentiments.
However, I feel strongly that International news though depressing makes an important contribution to where we are and what we stand for. In a way, no wars were won without fighting...........the abolishment of the death sentence is a start

Yes Sonsie, you are right! I just get a bit carried away.
If it wasnt for the Same, same international news I would not learn of all the great advancements we are making.

Sonsie

Sonsie said on the 2nd May, 2009

Hi Spooky, Thank you for your reponse. That was a mighty response! Thank you.

And yes, you are very right; I also need reminding; if it was'nt for Same Same's news, I too would be pretty ignorant of gay activism and happenings.
Cheers and hope to see you amongst the threads!