The Burundi Human Rights Initiative

President Évariste Ndayishimiye addresses prisoners and guests during a presidential pardon at Mpimba prison, Bujumbura, 26 April 2021. ©2021 Private
President Évariste Ndayishimiye addresses prisoners and guests during a presidential pardon at Mpimba prison, Bujumbura, . © Private

Ndayishimiye one year on

Has he kept his word on human rights?

Has President Évariste Ndayishimiye lived up to his promises? Burundians point to a decrease in violence by the youth league of the ruling party, a crackdown on corruption and a more open media climate. Others are less sanguine, noting that the intelligence service continues to torture some political opponents with impunity. Equally concerning: the judicial system is manipulated by ruling party and intelligence officials who often instruct prosecutors and judges on how to handle political cases.

Many Burundians say it’s too early to judge Ndayishimiye. They wonder if his positive gestures are genuine and remain sceptical about his commitment – and ability – to deliver on promised reforms. As one Burundian said: “If (Ndayishimiye) is the only one who is good in the (ruling party) system, he won’t succeed. It’s the entire system that has to change.”

The Burundi Human Rights Initiative’s report, “Ndayishimiye one year on: has he kept his word on human rights?”, based on interviews with Burundians in five key areas, explores the president’s achievements and shortcomings on the most pressing human rights issues facing the country.

The report is available in English and French.