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Human Rights in Burundi

Human Rights Concerns

Despite the end of the decade-long civil war in Burundi in 2003, where rape was widely reported as a weapon of war by government and rebel forces, sexual violence continues at an alarming rate.  Both in the home and the larger society, police and judicial authorities have done little to respond to victims or find and punish those responsible. Because rape is not taken seriously by the authorities and victims themselves are shunned by relatives and their communities, women rarely report the crime. Those victims who come forward usually seek medical treatment and counseling at international health centers, rather than going to police.

In the absence of government figures, statistics obtained by Burundian and international NGOs show both reported and unreported rape occurring at high levels. The numbers, though, represent only the tip of the iceberg, said the report No Protection from Rape.

Systemic failures in the justice system have created a climate where rape victims are less willing or able to pursue criminal proceedings. The system particularly fails women in rural areas, who are often unaware of how to instigate legal proceedings and are frequently cut off from psychosocial and medical assistance provided by some non-governmental organizations operating in Burundi. Women are often stigmatized by their communities if they make public the attack they endured–often leading them to keep their suffering a secret and cope with the consequences of the violations alone.

Burundi Newsroom



September 28, 2017 • Report

Conform or flee: Repression and insecurity pushing Burundians into exile

Thousands of Burundian refugees are under mounting pressure to return to their country where they would be at risk of death, rape and torture, said Amnesty International in a report out today.

August 12, 2016 • Press Release

Burundi: UN findings must be a wake-up call on torture

The UN Committee against Torture (CAT) issued a wake-up call to Burundi today, said Amnesty International after the Committee flagged an increase in the use of torture and other ill-treatment since the beginning of the country’s current crisis in April 2015. In its concluding observations following a special report submitted at CAT’s request, the Committee’s …

April 26, 2016 • Press Release

One year on, Burundians pay the price of entrenched human rights crisis

One year on from the start of the Burundi crisis, the human rights situation in the country continues to deteriorate and accountability for horrific acts of violence remains elusive, Amnesty International said today. The decision by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open a preliminary examination underlines the gravity of the situation.

February 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.

February 18, 2016 • Press Release

Your rights in jeopardy, global assault on freedoms, warns Amnesty International

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

January 27, 2016 • Press Release

Satellite evidence in Burundi supports witness accounts of mass graves

Compelling new satellite images, video footage and witness accounts analyzed by Amnesty International in a new briefing strongly indicate that dozens of people killed by Burundian security forces in December were later buried in mass graves.

January 27, 2016 • Report

Burundi: Suspected Mass Graves of Victims of 11 December Violence

Compelling new satellite images, video footage and witness accounts analyzed by Amnesty International strongly indicate that dozens of people killed by Burundian security forces in December were later buried in mass graves.

December 22, 2015 • Press Release

Burundi: Extrajudicial executions and systematic killings must be investigated

Security forces systematically killed dozens of people, including by extrajudicial execution, on the single bloodiest day of Burundi’s escalating crisis, Amnesty International has found.

December 17, 2015 • Press Release

Burundi: International community must act immediately to end human rights crisis

The international community must take urgent steps to address the political crisis in Burundi and restore full respect for human rights as the country moves dangerously to the brink of civil war, said Amnesty International following a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.