• 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. 

  • Pierre Claver Mbonimpa waves at the crowd in front of the Appeals Court in Bujumbura on June 4, 2014.
    A court in Burundi on September 29, 2014, provisionally released the detained human rights activist, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, on medical grounds.



  • Sep 29, 2014
    A court in Burundi on September 29, 2014, provisionally released the detained human rights activist, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, on medical grounds.
  • Sep 19, 2014
  • Sep 16, 2014
    When a Somali interpreter from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) approached Idil in July 2013 asking her to “befriend” a Ugandan soldier in exchange for money, she was struggling to survive.
  • Aug 28, 2014
    Human Rights Watch today released a short video about leading Burundian human rights activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, who has been in prison since May 2014.
  • Aug 28, 2014
  • Aug 14, 2014
    Burundian authorities should hold accountable those responsible for a 2004 massacre of Congolese refugees. More than 150 refugees, most of them women and children, were killed and more than 100 others injured, on August 13, 2004, at Gatumba, in one of the worst ethnically targeted attacks in Burundi since the 1990s. The leaders of the armed group that claimed responsibility have not been brought to justice.
  • Aug 4, 2014
    Three notorious African leaders -- Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, Eritrea's Isaias Afewerki, and Sudan's Omar al-Bashir -- are not invited to this week's U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. But a number of other long-ruling African strongmen, like Angola's José Eduardo dos Santos, Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, will be there. In fact, over a dozen African countries which will be represented at the summit boast disturbing human rights records of ruthlessly suppressing freedom of expression and freedom of association through harassment, arrest, torture, and trumped up charges and killings.
  • Jul 16, 2014
    Burundian authorities should halt their crackdown on opposition party members. Officials should also quash a March 21, 2014 verdict in which 48 people were handed sentences ranging from two years to life in prison.
  • Jun 20, 2014
  • Jun 19, 2014
    Five nongovernmental organizations – ACAT-Burundi, APRODH, FOCODE, FORSC, and TRIAL – supported by Human Rights Watch, have submitted four complaints on extrajudicial executions in Burundi to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.