Bujumbura – The striking off and suspension of several civil society organizations (CSOs) by the Burundian government causes fear for the regime and doubt about its governance. Five of them are accused of “carrying out activities that are not in accordance with their goals set out in their statutes and which are likely to disrupt the order and security of the state.”
“… The above associations have deviated from their goals set in their statutes and are rather busy tarnishing the country’s image and stirring up hatred and division among the people of Burundi.” This is the sledgehammer argument advanced by the Ministry of Interior and patriotic training in an ordinance announcing the measure. On the 19th, October 2016, Pascal Barandagiye, the Interior Minister, struck off definitively five CSOs by Ordinance No.
530/1922. The latter are the Forum for the Strengthening of Civil Society (FORSC), FOCODE (the Forum for awareness and development), APRODH (Burundi Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons), ACAT (Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture) and ROE (Network of Honest Citizens). The common ground for these organizations is that they were members of the campaign”Halt to the Third Term of Pierre Nkurunziza.” They were suspended on 23 November 2015. All the leaders of these organizations have been active in the movement to stop the third term of President Nkurunziza, and some are subject to an international arrest warrant issued by the Burundian justice. Some of these organizations continue to produce regular reports on violations of human rights in Burundi.
From suspension to the striking off …
On 24 October, another ordinance N ° 530/1960 by the same minister suspends temporarily five CSOs: COSOME (Coalition of Civil Society for Election Monitoring), CB-ICC (Burundian Coalition for ICC) UBJ (Union of Burundian Journalists), “Iteka” Burundian League for Human Rights, and Burundi SOS Torture. Barandagiye accused them of “carrying out activities that are not in accordance with their goals set out in their statutes and which are likely to disrupt the order and security of the state.” The ordinance does not specify the duration of the suspension.
“These five organizations have secretly continued to perform despicable acts likely to disrupt the country’s safety instead of respecting the law and their suspension. They have allied with other associations, worked in secret and prepared documents that tarnish the image of the country, the reason why His Excellency the Minister of Interior has released an ordinance on 19 October, 2016 that strikes off five organizations, “said Térence Ntahiraja, Assistant to the Interior Minister. These organizations, he added, formed a coalition with five others which were not suspended namely COSOME, CB-CPI, UBJ, Iteka league and SOS torture Burundi, “what is dramatic. ”
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By Anemone Kubwimana
Credit picture: Pacifique Nininahazwe, the Delegate General for the Forum for the Strengthening of Civil Society (FORSC), an organization for 146 Burundian civil society associations. Roberto Schmidt/Getty images
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