Burundi – NGOs Facing Suspension
Local and international NGOs in Burundi are facing a three-month suspension for violating a new law according to government sources.
The country continues to face a period of heightened tensions and restrictions for citizens and civil society, prompted by President Nkurunziza’s decision to stay in office beyond 2015 when his second term was scheduled for completion. According to the Arusha Accords in 2000 a two-term limit on the presidency was set. However, a referendum in May of this year approved changes to the constitution that mean President Pierre Nkurunziza could stay in office until 2034 by enabling him to run for two seven year terms.
The vote was widely criticised. Reports from organisations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International, as well as opposition sources within the country suggested the vote violated both democratic norms and the basic human rights of Burundi citizens. There was an effective ban on campaigning for the ‘no’ side.
The details of the specific NGOs facing suspension and the reasons for their alleged violations are yet to be confirmed. Several donors and groups have scaled back work in recent months and years as a result of the government’s anti-democratic behaviour and allegations of human rights abuses.