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. At the same time, the intelligence service continues to torture some political opponents with impunity, and the judicial system is manipulated by ruling party and intelligence officials.

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.

Burundian police attend a training in Bujumbura in 2017. Police continue to be involved in serious human rights violations, including in Rumonge province, where they shot dead two men and tortured detainees in January 2021. ©2017 Private
Burundian police attend a training in Bujumbura in . Police continue to be involved in serious human rights violations, including in Rumonge province, where they shot dead two men and tortured detainees in . © Private

Rumonge: torture and killings in the name of security

Égide Sindayigaya died in the early hours of in a police detention centre in Rumonge, after the intelligence service had tortured him. In the month before his death, two suspected armed opponents and two local leaders were killed in Rumonge, following attacks by armed opposition groups in late . “Rumonge: torture and killings in the name of security” documents these events – as well as cases of torture in late and early  – and the government’s contradictory explanations of what took place.

President Évariste Ndayishimiye (centre), Prime Minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni (right), minister of interior, community development and public security Gervais Ndirakobuca (left). ©2020 Private
President Évariste Ndayishimiye (centre), Prime Minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni (right), minister of interior, community development and public security Gervais Ndirakobuca (left). © Private

A stranglehold on Burundi’s future

After the elections, there were signs of hope in Burundi. Ruling party leaders told their youth league, the Imbonerakure, to refrain from attacking their opponents and abuses decreased. But after a series of deadly attacks by armed groups, the Imbonerakure went back to their old ways. “A stranglehold on Burundi’s future” documents the human rights and political situation since the elections, including a crackdown on suspected collaborators of armed groups. It describes the dominance of hardliners in the new government and delves into past crimes for which they bear responsibility.