Intro: Homosexuality in Burundi is less than a heartbeat away from the grim political and social clouds that have loomed over Burundi since 2007. Peace is very fragile. This short report from the web site ‘Behind the Mask’ is a small window into the daunting situation for gays in Burundi and one man’s escape to
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany and Belgium occupied the region, and Burundi and Rwanda became a European colony known as Ruanda-Urundi. Political unrest occurred throughout the region because of social differences between the Tutsi and Hutu, provoking civil war in Burundi throughout the middle twentieth century. Presently, Burundi is governed as a presidential representative democratic republic. Burundi is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. Civilians are victims of repeated acts of violence done by the rebel FLN militia. The latter also recruits child soldiers. The rate of violence against women is high. Perpetrators regularly escape prosecution and punishment by the state. There is an urgent need for reform of the judicial system. Efforts to mediate a political settlement are under way but are shaky. In Burundi, homosexual actions between men or women are illegal and there are proposals (2008) to increase these sanctions.
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