Burundi’s elections, scheduled to begin in May 2020, exacerbated political tensions. Members of the ruling party’s youth league, the Imbonerakure, often working with local officials, the national intelligence service, and police, carry out widespread human rights abuses, including extrajudicial executions, disappearances, arbitrary arrests, sexual violence, extortion, beatings, and intimidation, often targeting real or perceived political opponents. Civil society and media are unable to work independently and have been banned, forced to close down, or are unable to criticize the government. Journalists seeking to investigate security or human rights issues face intimidation, threats, surveillance, and prosecution. The humanitarian situation remains dire.
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