Burundi–Human Rights Committee–Civil and Political Rights–June 2020

The Advocates for Human Rights submitted a Suggested List of Issues Prior to Reporting on civil and political rights in Burundi for the 129th session of the Human Rights Committee.

After protests and a failed coup d’état in May 2015, the Government of Burundi intensified its repression of freedom of the press and political dissent. The Burundian National Defense Forces (BNDF) and the Burundian National Intelligence Service (SNR)—often in collaboration with members of the ruling party’s youth league, Imbonerakure—committed numerous killings, disappearances, abductions, torture, rape, and arbitrary arrests. The latest 2019 Commission of Inquiry report found that local administrative officials, members of the Imbonerakure, SNR officers, and police committed numerous human rights abuses, primarily the suppression of civil liberties.. Journalists and human rights defenders have faced threats, harassment, and violence at the hands of police and security forces. The Government of Burundi has failed to uphold its human rights obligations regarding freedom of assembly, association, and speech, as well as protection against sexual violence, ill-treatment, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, and extrajudicial executions.

Suggested Questions to the Government of Burundi:

  • What steps is the State taking to investigate allegations of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances and to hold perpetrators accountable?
  • What measures are in place to prevent law enforcement officials from conducting arbitrary arrests?
  • What laws, policies, and procedures are in place to ensure that individuals are not subject to discrimination, torture, or ill-treatment based on their political beliefs?
  • How are members of law enforcement and groups like the Imbonerakure held accountable for human rights violations?
  • How does the State Party investigate allegations of threats and acts of violence targeting journalists? What have been the results of those investigations during the reporting period?
  • How does the State Party ensure that legitimate activities of journalists are not constrained by arbitrary, unjustified, or politically motivated lawsuits?