Democracy and rights
Since then President-elect Pierre
Nkurunziza's contested election victory in July 2015,
Burundi has been in political chaos, with harassment,
repression and violence directed at political opponents
and other government-critical voices. Freedom of the
press and opinion is severely restricted and there are
almost no media left that can operate freely from the
involvement of the authorities.
According to Freedom House, the democratic progress
made by Burundi after the end of the civil war in 2005
is being destroyed by the increasingly authoritarian
regime of the Hut-dominated government party CNDD-FDD.
In September 2018, a UN investigation found that
extensive violations of human rights had been committed
by the state, or actors acting on behalf of the state,
against regime opponents in recent years.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Burundi, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
According to the constitution, there are multiparty
systems and free party formation. In practice, CNDD-FDD
acts almost completely without competition from other
parties. After an unsuccessful coup attempt in May 2015,
parts of the opposition are on the run. Violence,
intimidation and harassment affecting regime opponents
are not rarely carried out by the CNDD-FDD youth
association Imbonerakure (in practice a youth militia).
Imbonerakure, which also helps the police to fight
demonstrations, has become increasingly important after
the 2015 crisis.
Freedom of assembly and the right to demonstrate
peacefully are restricted by the authorities. Voluntary
organizations are reported to have made it more
difficult to operate. It is becoming more common for
human rights defenders to be threatened and arrested,
which has led many to feel compelled to leave the
country. In September 2018, the government announced
that almost all civil society organizations were banned
from operating, which was lifted two months later.
Women are under-represented in politics at all
levels. The constitution says that at least 30 percent
of the ministers in the government and of the members of
the legislative National Assembly must be women.
The Constitution of 2018 gives the Hutus more power
than the Tutsis, even though contradictions between the
two peoples led to the outbreak of the civil war in 1993
and that the constitution introduced after the end of
the war provided for the division of power (see
Burundi is one of the world's most corrupt countries.
In 2019, Transparency International placed the country
among the 15 worst (165th of 180 countries) in its index
of corruption in the world (see the full list here). It
was still an improvement with five investments since the
Freedom of expression and media
The constitution guarantees freedom of the press and
opinion and Burundi had a lot of vibrant independent
media until 2005, when CNDD-FDD and then-President
Pierre Nkurunziza came to power. Subsequently, the media
climate deteriorated and a number of privately owned
media were temporarily shut down, citing "insecurity" or
The media situation has worsened sharply after the
political crisis in 2015, when radio and TV stations
were destroyed and about 100 journalists were forced
into exile. Reporters, photographers and bloggers are
exposed to threats and harassment by the police, the
youth militia and the security service. Several
journalists have been imprisoned or exiled.
Nowadays critically investigative journalists live
dangerously. The government blames the free media for
causing the crisis, on behalf of forces abroad. In 2018,
the BBC and Voice of America lost their broadcasting
licenses and in March 2019 the BBC was completely banned
from operating in the country. Other etheric media have
also been banned from broadcasting.
Reporters Without Borders placed Burundi in place in
160 of 180 countries in its index of freedom of the
press in the world in 2020 (see the full list here). It
was marginally better than conflict countries like Libya
and Somalia and meant a race since 2008 when Burundi
reached its top rank of 94.
Judicial system and legal security
The judiciary should be politically independent but
in practice is under strong pressure from the
government, which appoints all judges. The Tutsis have
traditionally had a strong dominance over the judiciary,
but it is being broken.
During the civil war in the 1990s, both the army and
the hutumilies committed grave abuse against the
civilian population. Respect for human rights has
remained weak. A number of leading opposition
politicians testify that they have been beaten and
tortured since they were arrested and detained.
Arbitrary arrests occur and hundreds of extra-judicial
executions have been carried out since the spring of
2015. Information is also available about political
murders and unresolved disappearances. The impunity for
the perpetrators of these crimes is almost total. The
death penalty was abolished in 2009.
In April 2016, the International Criminal Court (ICC)
decided to investigate the abuses committed in Burundi
since April 2015. This led to the then President
Nkurunziza deciding that Burundi should leave the ICC,
which formally took place in October 2017. Burundi thus
became the first country to take a such a step. The ICC
announced that it did not prevent further investigation.
One month later, a full-scale ICC investigation of the
wave of violence surrounding the 2015 presidential
election was opened.
Cessation of fire after UN mediation
Ceasefire is proclaimed between the army and the FNL
rebels after UN mediation. FNL leader Agathon Rwasa
returns from exile.
Allocated party chairman is sentenced to prison
CNDD-FDD's deposed chairman Hussein Radjabu is
sentenced to 13 years in prison for overthrowing
activities and for slandering the president.
Struggles between the army and Huturebeller
Struggles erupt around the capital Bujumbura between
the government army and the huturelle FNL.