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Burundi

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Last updated on 16.05.2022 at 14:42

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The Civic Space Developments

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Les enlèvements et les meurtres de membres de l'opposition se poursuivent à un rythme alarmant

Les enlèvements et les meurtres de membres de l'opposition se poursuivent à un rythme alarmant

Since 7th February 2022, Jean Claude Nzigamye, an activist and member of the opposition party, the National Congress for Freedom (Congrès national pour la liberté, CNL), has been missing after he was allegedly kidnapped in Ngozi; the police prohibited civil society organisations OLUCOME and PARCEM from holding a press conference

Depuis le 7 février 2022, Jean-Claude Nzigamye, militant et membre du parti d'opposition le Congrès national pour la liberté (CNL), est porté disparu après avoir été probablement enlevé à Ngozi. La police a interdit aux organisations de la société civile OLUCOME et PARCEM la tenue d'une conférence de presse.

Liberté d'association

Depuis le 7 février 2022, Jean-Claude Nzigamye, militant et membre du parti d'opposition le Congrès national pour la liberté (CNL), est porté disparu après avoir été probablement enlevé à Ngozi. Selon des témoins, un groupe d'hommes armés en civil et dirigé par Msafiri Niyonkuru, le chef des Imbonerakure — la ligue des jeunes du parti au pouvoir —, l'a enlevé et est parti avec lui dans une voiture aux vitres teintées. Les efforts de sa famille pour le retrouver se sont avérés vains. Comme nous l'avons déjà signalé dans plusieurs mises à jour du Monitor CIVICUS, depuis des années, les membres des partis d'opposition tels que le CNL sont confrontés à une répression brutale, accompagnée d'enlèvements systématiques, d'actes de torture et de meurtres perpétrés par les autorités et les célèbres Imbonerakure.

Liberté d'expression

La police a interdit aux organisations de la société civile OLUCOME et PARCEM la tenue d'une conférence de presse pour discuter des mesures imposées aux motos, vélos et tuk-tuks et limitant leur accès au centre-ville de la capitale. La conférence de presse cherchait à inciter le gouvernement à suspendre temporairement ces mesures en raison de leurs conséquences économiques. Auparavant, le ministère de l'Intérieur et de la Sécurité publique du Burundi avait interdit aux vélos, aux motos-taxis et aux tuk-tuk de pénétrer dans le centre-ville à compter du 21 mars 2022, en raison du nombre croissant d'accidents mortels attribués à ces modes de transport.

Association in Burundi

Burundian civil society grew in size and influence after the mid-1990s and made important contributions to deepening democracy, including during free and fair elections in 2005 when the civil war ended.

Burundian civil society grew in size and influence after the mid-1990s and made important contributions to deepening democracy, including during free and fair elections in 2005 when the civil war ended. As a consequence of its influence, organised civil society has been one of the main targets of the government’s latest crackdown. In 2016, the authorities continue to harass, arrest, brutalise and in some cases detain, kill or cause the disappearance of civil society leaders as well as individual activists (including students) who took part in the anti-third term demonstrations in April 2015. Following the attempted assassination of prominent human rights defender Pierre Claver Mponimba in August 2015, two members of his family were brutally murdered. In November 2015, the government froze the bank accounts of fourteen prominent CSOs, including several human rights organisations, a move which has seriously impeded civil society’s ability to conduct human rights monitoring and advocacy. As a climate of fear prevails, many civil society leaders have been forced into exile in order to avoid arrests, violent attacks and assassination attempts. Enforced disappearances of human rights defenders are also a concern. For example, Marie-Claudette Kwizera, treasurer of a prominent human rights organisation, Iteka League, was allegedly abducted by the National Intelligence Services on 10 December 2015 and remains unaccounted for.


Peaceful Assembly in Burundi

Even though article 32 of Burundi’s constitution protects the right to peaceful assembly, public demonstrations in Burundi have become almost impossible in the wake of the sustained use of excessive force by security forces.

Even though article 32 of Burundi’s constitution protects the right to peaceful assembly, public demonstrations in Burundi have become almost impossible in the wake of the sustained use of excessive force by security forces. Peaceful demonstrations in April 2015 against an extension of the president’s mandate sparked a brutal assault by police on demonstrators, during which they were recorded using live ammunition, shooting people at point blank range and even shooting demonstrators in the back as they ran away. Other threats to the freedom of assembly come from a regressive public gatherings law which prevents spontaneous gatherings, and impunity for frequent assaults on demonstrators by non-state actors, including by the ruling party’s youth wing Imbonerakure.

Expression in Burundi

Prior to the crackdown on free media in 2015, Burundi’s World Press Freedom Ranking was already a lowly 142nd, having been as high as 72nd a decade earlier.

Prior to the crackdown on free media in 2015, Burundi’s World Press Freedom Ranking was already a lowly 142nd, having been as high as 72nd a decade earlier. In a clear violation of constitutional protections, the government has stamped out most if not all independent journalism in Burundi through the closure of radio stations and attacks on individual journalists. As traditional media have been closed off, reporters have formed a new online reporting collective, SOS Médias Burundi which continues to provide reports on human rights violations within the country through social media channels. With Internet penetration at just 1.4%, for most Burundians news other than state propaganda is hard to access.