Since President Evariste Ndayishimiye came to power in June 2020, the human rights situation in Burundi has made limited progress according to the 2022 global report on human rights in the world, released this Thursday, January 13.
“Although President Evariste Ndayishimiye has pledged on several occasions to bring justice and encourage political tolerance, most of his promises have not been kept to date,” notes HRW.
The year 2021 witnessed a continuation of murders, disappearances, acts of torture as well as arbitrary detention and harassment. by people seen as opponents of the government.
“The authorities have made some limited efforts to rein in the Imbonerakure. Some of the members of this youth league have been prosecuted, however rarely for serious crimes and through trials that often lacked transparency, “says this human rights organization.
HRW says several security incidents have been reported since August 2020 involving, according to the organization, clashes between security forces and armed groups, as well as attacks by unidentified assailants.
“Attacks by armed groups have been reported in Cibitoke and other provinces bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Burundian authorities have denounced these “terrorist” or “criminal” acts, and perpetrated abuses against their alleged perpetrators as well as civilians”, notes this organization.
According to HRW, President Ndayishimiye has been more open to the international community than his predecessor. This organization recalls that in February, the Burundian government and representatives of the European Union and its member states resumed the political dialogue, which had been suspended since 2016.
“The Burundian government has produced a technical roadmap for human rights and other reforms, but this remains vague, without real commitments, and sidesteps the issue of impunity for the many crimes committed since 2015,” HRW points out.
And to recall that the government has lifted certain restrictions, including the suspension of the anti-corruption organization PARCEM (Parole et Action pour le Réveil des Consciences et l’Évolution des Mentalités) but “the authorities have continued to multiply unjustified interference and to monitor the activities of civil society and the media”.
According to HRW, several unjustly imprisoned journalists and human rights defenders have been released since the election of Evariste Ndayishimiye.
Regarding the media, HRW reports that the CNC lifted the ban on Bonesha FM and authorized several new radio and television stations to start their activities. “However, international media are still subject to restrictions, and BBC and VOA remain suspended since 2018.”