Timeline of Key Political and Human Rights Events during the Election Period: May to September
To the Ministry of Interior
To the Attorney General's Office, the National Police of Burundi, and the National Intelligence Service
To the Ministry of Justice
To the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
To the Burundian Parliament
To All Political Parties, including the FNL, Other Members of the ADC-Ikibiri Coalition, and CNDD-FDD
To International Actors, including the East African Community (EAC), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and Bilateral Donors
To Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Factors Leading to Democratic Breakdown and Related Human Rights Abuses --
Communal Elections: Pre-Election Violence
Communal Elections: Bribery, Corruption, and Fraud
Presidential Elections: Pre-Election Violence
Risk of Return to Armed Conflict
Factors Leading to Increased Targeting of Journalists and Civil Society
Obligations under International Law
II. Closing Space for the Political Opposition
Banning Political Meetings
Threats and Intimidation of Opposition Leaders
Restricting Freedom of Movement
Arrests of Opposition Party Members
Arrests in Ruziba, July
Arrests of MSD members, August and September
Arrests of "Armed Bandits"
Arrest and Killing of Jackson Ndikuriyo
Torture and Ill-Treatment
Government Interference with the FNL
III. Closing Space for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists
Targeting of Burundian Journalists and Civil Society Activists
Threats against Radio Publique Africaine (RPA)
Targeting of Human Rights Watch
Targeting of UN Officials --
IV. International Response
V. Government Institutions to Protect Human Rights
Annex I: Political Violence in the Period Preceding Communal Elections, May
Annex II: Human Rights Watch Letter to Burundian Government.
"Burundi's 2010 election period was marked by repression of civil society, media, and opposition parties. After claiming that communal elections in May were fraudulent, opposition parties boycotted subsequent elections, which resulted in a massive electoral victory for the ruling party. The government responded with a crackdown on liberties that continued into the post-election period. It banned political meetings, outlawed an opposition coalition, and unlawfully acted to convert the main opposition party into a satellite of the ruling party. Authorities arrested several hundred opposition members; some were tortured. They also arrested journalists, harassed civil society organizations, and branded those who spoke out on security and justice issues as 'political opponents.' Since September, a new wave of killings has targeted members of both the ruling party and the opposition.
The specter of a de facto one-party state, consisting mainly of officials who perceive dissident voices as enemies, raises concerns about future repression and the narrowing of democratic space in Burundi. The possibility of renewed armed conflict heightens concerns of abuse by the government and armed movements. This report documents the factors leading to the democratic breakdown, and the closing space for political opposition, human rights defenders and journalists. It also examines the international reaction to such abuses, and evaluates the ability of government institutions to protect human rights. Closing Doors? urges the new government to take further steps toward establishing institutions that will promote accountability; commit to reestablishing space for opposition parties to function; and allow journalists and civil society activists to fulfill their monitoring function.
It calls on international donors to match their demonstrated support for civil society with an even-handed approach to the ruling party and the political opposition that is rooted in upholding fundamental human rights."--P.  of cover.