Burundi-Overview

Space for civil society and citizen activism has been significantly damaged following a government crackdown in 2015 when citizens protested against the incumbent president’s bid for a third term. Many ordinary civilians and civil society activists have been killed, police have repeatedly used excessive force against protestors and detainees have been brutally tortured. The deliberate and violent targeting of human rights defenders, journalists and their family members resulted in the deaths and serious injury of several activists, while an estimated 200,000 Burundians fled the country in fear for their lives. Many human rights defenders and journalists have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. As the leadership of the government continues its desperate attempts to cling to power, people dare not question authority, voice dissent or engage in any form of peaceful citizen activism or mobilisation. While civic space has closed significantly since April 2015, prior to that civil society and the media had already come under significant pressure from the state.