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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.

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 • 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.

September 2, 2015 • Report

Use of Force – Guidelines for Implementation of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by law enforcement officials

From the streets of Ferguson, Missouri to the favelas of Brazil, the police use of force and firearms makes global headlines when it turns fatal.

August 24, 2015 • Report

“Just Tell Me What to Confess To” Torture and Ill-Treatment by Burundi’s Police and Intelligence Service Since April 2015

Beatings with iron bars and acid burns are among an array of torture techniques used by Burundian security forces to extract “confessions” and silence dissent.

July 22, 2015 • Report

Braving Bullets – Excessive force in policing demonstrations in Burundi

Burundian authorities repressed demonstrations as if they were an insurrection, and now the country appears to be on the verge of conflict, Amnesty International warned in a new report, Braving Bullets – Excessive force in policing demonstrations in Burundi, released today.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 16, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Burundi 2013

Republic of Burundi Head of state and government Pierre Nkurunziza The cycle of impunity remained unbroken and the government did not fully investigate and prosecute extrajudicial executions from previous years. …

March 26, 2011 • Report

“A Step Backwards” – Torture and Other Ill-Treatment by Burundi’s National Intelligence Service

“A Step Backwards” – Torture and other Ill-Treatment by Burundi’s National Intelligence Service

March 19, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: Burundi 2010

Head of state Pierre Nkurunziza Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes Population 8.3 million Life expectancy 50.1 years Under-5 mortality (m/f) 177/155 per 1,000 Adult literacy 59.3 per cent The …