The parliament of Burundi in a quick move passed a law making homosexuality a crime and said same-sex acts could result in prison terms between three months to two years. It is expected the Senate will agree to this action and the bill will be signed into law by President Nkurunziza as early as tomorrow. The action of the government of Burundi is in accord with similar laws being passed in the east African region. It is estimated two-thirds of African nations have laws making homosexuality a crime. In recent years, other nations such as Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Uganda have threatened to strengthen laws against gays and lesbians.
The laws are not being pushed by any groups within these nations but appears to emanate from members of the government who are reacting against drives for gay and lesbian rights. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission(IGLHRC) argues “imprisoning people simply because of who they love offends every principle of human rights.” Paula Entelbrick, who represents the group, says anti-homosexuality laws arise less from people engaging in homosexual love and more from the emergence of gay and lesbian activist groups.
The only result of such laws is to drive people underground and to increase the probability of the spread of HIV.