• Restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly increased, with elections scheduled for 2015. The government persistently harassed and blocked the activities of members of opposition parties, civil society activists, and journalists. In May, a leading human rights activist, 66-year-old Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, was arrested and charged with endangering state security and using false documents. Court judges rejected requests for his provisional release, even after he became seriously ill. On September 29, 2014, a court in Burundi granted him provisional release on medical grounds. In March, 70 people, the majority members of the opposition party Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) were tried in a blatantly unfair trial; 21 were sentenced to life imprisonment. The justice system suffered from political interference and allegations of corruption. Impunity for human rights abuses, particularly by state agents and youth of the ruling party, was a dominant concern. Most cases of extrajudicial killings and other acts of political violence between 2010 and 2012 remained unresolved. 

  • Police try to enter the building of the radio station Radio publique africaine in Bujumbura on April 26, 2015. The Burundian government shut down its broadcasts across the country on April 27.
    The Burundian government is cracking down on activists, journalists, and demonstrators following protests over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term.

Reports

Burundi

  • Apr 27, 2015
    The Burundian government is cracking down on activists, journalists, and demonstrators following protests over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term.
  • Mar 26, 2015
    On the night of Dec. 29, members of an unidentified armed group crossed the Rusizi River from the Democratic Republic of Congo into Burundi. According to local residents, some 100 to 150 well-armed men slipped across the murky river into the hills. The morning after they crossed, the armed group fought with soldiers of the Burundian National Defence Force and police in the country’s westernmost province, Cibitoke. In the four or five days that followed, the fighters scattered and broke up into groups while being hunted by the army and the police. There were some clashes and the Burundian security forces said they killed at least 95 members of the group. Two Burundian soldiers and two civilians also died.
  • Feb 20, 2015
  • Feb 18, 2015
    The Court of Appeal in the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, on February 18, 2015, ordered the release on bail of the well-known journalist Bob Rugurika.
  • Feb 12, 2015
    The Burundian National Defense Force and police committed at least 47 extrajudicial executions between December 30, 2014, and January 3, 2015, following a clash with an armed group in the northwestern province of Cibitoke. Armed members of the ruling party’s youth league also participated in the killings.
  • Feb 5, 2015
  • Feb 2, 2015
    Bob Rugurika, known throughout Burundi as Bob, is a promising young journalist. He is the director of the popular Radio Publique Africaine (RPA) radio station and is well known for his investigative journalism and easy interactive style.
  • Jan 28, 2015
    Bob Rugurika has been in prison since January 20. His name may not mean much to readers outside Burundi. Yet he is an excellent journalist who has honored his profession as director of the most popular independent radio station in his country, Radio Publique Africaine (RPA).
  • Jan 22, 2015
    Burundian authorities arrested a prominent journalist on January 20, 2015, days after his radio station broadcast a series of investigative reports into the September 2014 murder of three elderly Italian nuns in the country. The broadcasts included allegations about the involvement of senior intelligence officials in the attack on the convent.
  • Sep 29, 2014
    A court in Burundi on September 29, 2014, provisionally released the detained human rights activist, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, on medical grounds.