Violence against women and girls
Levels of rape and other sexual violence against women and girls remained high. Most rapes were committed against minors.
There was slow progress in establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Special Tribunal within the Burundian justice system to investigate Burundi's violent history and to prosecute, if established, crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. However, national consultations started in July and finished in December. A network of international and national civil society organizations was closely monitoring the process. Participation was reportedly high in certain provinces.
Independent National Human Rights Commission
Progress towards the creation of an Independent National Human Rights Commission remained slow, with a new draft law emerging in late 2009.
Refugees and asylum-seekers
Between January and September, 29,052 Burundian refugees returned, principally from Tanzania, of whom 20,758 were refugees who had fled in 1972.
In October, the authorities began deporting up to 400 Rwandan asylum-seekers from the northern province of Kirundo, before reversing their position to make individual assessments of these cases. The refugees stated that they were fleeing unfair trials before the Rwandan gacaca courts and violence in the south of Rwanda.
Land disputes were commonplace and sometimes resulted in violent confrontations between people, including killings. Disputes were most widespread in the south, especially in the provinces of Bururi and Makamba.
Many land disputes were between returning refugees, who sought to reclaim their property, and current residents. This was particularly complicated for refugees who left Burundi in 1972, as Burundian law allows for a new occupant to become the legal owner of land after 30 years.
The work of the National Commission on land and other properties, established by the government in 2006, was hampered by its lack of legal jurisdiction over disputes and the number of complaints.
Killings of Albino children
Albino children were killed by Burundian individuals who sold the dismembered body parts to witch doctors in Tanzania.
- An albino boy was killed on 23 February by armed individuals who forced their way into the boy's home. They tied up the parents and cut off the boy's limbs. The attackers left the house and threw a grenade into the house as they left. Arrests were made in March.
Amnesty International visit/reports
An Amnesty International delegation visited Burundi in August to conduct research.Burundi: Human Rights Council adopts Universal Periodic Review outcome on Burundi (19 March 2009)
Burundi abolishes the death penalty but bans homosexuality (27 April 2009)
Burundi: Reverse ban on civil society group (25 November 2009)