was not a good year for human rights in Burundi. The national intelligence service tortured dozens of detainees, some of whom died as a result. Others were forcibly disappeared or held incommunicado. Many of the victims were opposition party members.
The Burundi Human Rights Initiative’s report, “The road ahead: will Burundi bring its torturers to justice?”, reveals the horrific human rights violations still taking place in Burundi, despite the government’s efforts to improve its image. It includes detailed information about the actions of two officials responsible for particularly serious violations: intelligence agent Gérard Ndayisenga and police commissioner Moïse Arakaza. It also describes renewed abuses by members of the ruling party youth league and continuing restrictions on freedom of expression.
President Évariste Ndayishimiye publicly stated that Ndayisenga, who has been arrested, should be punished in an exemplary manner for his alleged involvement in torturing a detainee who died. Is the government finally willing to hold perpetrators to account?
As the relationship warms between the European Union and Burundi, will the EU press for concrete improvements? The new phase will be a test of the human rights commitment of both parties.
The report is available in English and French.