Human Rights Watch warns “voluntary contributions” for elections in Burundi open door to abuse

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C. USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. We invite you to donate to our fundraiser to help us keep our quality news free and available for all.

Human Rights Watch said on Friday that local authorities and members of the much-feared youth league of Burundi’s ruling party have extorted donations for the upcoming elections in 2020, in many cases by threat or force.

It said in a report that members of the youth league, the Imbonerakure, have blocked access to basic public services for people unable to present a receipt for the payment of the contribution.

The 54-page report, entitled  “Our children remain hungry for pay”: Abuse related to contributions for the 2020 elections in Burundi,  documents the campaign orchestrated by the ruling party, the National Council for Defense Democracy-Defense Forces of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), with the party youth league and local authorities to collect “voluntary” contributions from the population. 

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

Human Rights Watch found that people were forced to pay several times or pay more than the amount officially requested, or that they did not receive a receipt, which aggravated the situation.

“Local authorities and members of Imbonerakure exercise a terrifying level of control over the basic travel and activities of the population, such as buying food, consulting a doctor or accessing water  “, said Lewis Mudge , director for Central Africa at Human Rights Watch. “The contribution to the elections has opened the door to uncontrolled abuses.  “

Human Rights Watch said it interviewed more than 80 people, including 65 victims of abuse. The victims were from 13 of the country’s 18 provinces.

A government ordinance of December 2017 introduced the collection of contributions in various ways, including “voluntary” donations of Burundian francs (US $ 1.08) per household and Burundian francs ( US $ 0.54) per student of voting age, as well as direct deduction from the salaries of public sector workers and civil servants. But Imbonerakure members, who have no formal role in government or tax collection, resorted to violence and intimidation to extort money from Burundians.

They set up roadblocks to check receipts and restricted access to markets, schools, water pumps and administrative services for those who had not paid the contribution, Human Rights Watch said. Victims reported that Imbonerakure members in food distribution centers run by aid groups hit people, prevented them from receiving food or forcibly took food from them.

According to a 23-year-old man from Cankuzo province, who was forced to flee and leave his family behind, “They erected fences everywhere so that we can not access the water, go to market or just move without the receipt … I paid only to be able to live safely. To go to the market, I went through three roadblocks.

Human Rights Watch documented dozens of cases in 2019 in which Imbonerakure members, sometimes acting with police or local authorities, were involved in killings , disappearances, arbitrary arrests and beatings of political opponents real or supposed.

Since the beginning of 2018, members of Imbonerakure, visibly emboldened by their role as collectors of contributions, have also intimidated, threatened and beat people to force them to give food, livestock and money to CNDD-FDD in power and participate in building local hotlines for the ruling party, according to Human Rights Watch research.

In October, four members of the Youth League were convicted of murdering an opposition member and sentenced to life imprisonment. However, the Imbonerakure, who are often described as having more power than the police, have largely escaped justice and have rarely been held responsible for the acts committed.

President Pierre Nkurunziza announced the cessation of collections in July 2019, saying that the goal had been almost achieved, but those who wish to continue contributing can do so. Human Rights Watch found that election contributions are still being collected, albeit on a smaller scale, as the Youth League and local authorities continue to collect other “donations” for the ruling party and others. local projects.

Election contributions, associated extortions and other abuses have had a significant impact on the lives of many Burundians, as more than 70 percent of the country’s 11 million people live below the poverty line, Human Rights said.

A receipt for a contribution of one ton of beans paid to Imbonerakure members. The beans were worth one million Burundian francs (540 USD). The receipt with the logo of the ruling party reads: “What is your contribution to the political struggle? Members of Imbonerakure and local authorities forcibly collected food contributions from the population. © 2019 Private

Imbonerakure members have strengthened their hold on many aspects of people’s lives, Human Rights Watch said. The degree of involvement with which an individual pays the contribution to elections or other contributions, attends rallies of the ruling party or takes part in the construction of party permanences has become a measure of allegiance to the CNDD-FDD.

Human Rights Watch called on the authorities to ensure that all Burundians, including the most vulnerable, have access to vital humanitarian assistance and that access to public services is not denied on the basis of actual or perceived political allegiances of individuals and groups. their contributions to the elections.

It said the government should bring to justice local authorities, police and Imbonerakure members involved in violations of the rights to life, security, food, freedom of movement, property and the lack of political discrimination, as well as the right not to be subjected to ill-treatment, adding that regional bodies should increase their oversight by ensuring that African Union human rights monitors are fully deployed in Burundi and gain unrestricted access to the country, Human Rights Watch said.

“With the increasing repression and the arbitrary and punitive financial requirements imposed on the population, there is a real risk of political tensions intensify in the May 2020 elections approach  ,” concluded Lewis Mudge. ”  The Burundian authorities should urgently master Imbonerakure, and investigate and prosecute against members Imbonerakure and local administrators in case of evidence of their involvement in extortion and abuse.  “

[/read_more]

TODAY NEWS AFRICA
TODAY NEWS AFRICAhttps://todaynewsafrica.com
TODAY NEWS AFRICA is registered and headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America. Our publication is widely read, respected and influential. By providing daily answers to questions our readers have about the people, the businesses and the continent of Africa, we are reaching a diverse and wide audience from around the world. Our readers, many of them world leaders, trust us because we are independent and truthful. Our advertisers understand the difference between news, views and ads. Contact us: contactus@todaynewsafrica.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now

2,675FansLike
227FollowersFollow
902FollowersFollow
138SubscribersSubscribe

UN calls for bold action for world to recover from COVID-19

Amidst a crisis unlike any other in our lifetimes, with COVID-19 destroying lives and livelihoods across the globe, the 75th session...

Well known Nigerian prophet TB Joshua yet to reveal prophecy on U.S. presidential election

Nigerian prophet T.B. Joshua is yet to reveal his prophecy on the United States presidential election with only 46 days to...

USAID awards millions of dollars to Washington State University to combat lethal livestock disease in East Africa known as East Coast Fever

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded millions of dollars to Washington State University to combat a lethal livestock...

540 bipartisan elected officials from all 50 U.S. states urge President Trump to welcome refugees

At least 540 local and state elected officials from all 50 states and the District of Columbia expressed their strong support...

Top UN economists warn of crises of our own making if global “megatrends” left unchecked

Five human‑made “megatrends” will  continue to  dominate and frustrate global efforts to put the world on a more sustainable and prosperous...

MOST POPULAR

Nigerian activists sue Senate President and House of Representatives Speaker over ‘failure to publish details of corruption probes’

Nigeria's Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of House...

IMF announces COVID-19 youth fellowship contest

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday announced its IMF 2020 Annual Meetings Youth Fellowship Contest, which is open to bloggers,...

One of Nigeria’s most influential pastors Enoch Adeboye protests rising insecurity under Buhari as Prophet T.B. Joshua calls for prayers

Enoch Adejare Adeboye, one of Nigeria's most influential pastors, and General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God with branches...

Human Rights Watch says Hotel Rwanda film hero and government critic Paul Rusesabagina was forcibly disappeared

The government of Rwanda’s arrest of a prominent critic of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) amounted to an enforced disappearance, a...

South African president gives defense minister 48 hours to explain why air force plane was used to fly ANC members to Zimbabwe

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has given Minister of Defense and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula 48 hours to explain why a South...

UN calls for bold action for world to recover from COVID-19

Amidst a crisis unlike any other in our lifetimes, with COVID-19 destroying lives and livelihoods across the globe, the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly will open with a special high-level event underscoring anew the urgency of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a pathway to a healthier, more equitable and more peaceful world.The first ‘SDG Moment’ convened by UN Secretary-General...

One of Nigeria’s most influential pastors Enoch Adeboye protests rising insecurity under Buhari as Prophet T.B. Joshua calls for prayers

Enoch Adejare Adeboye, one of Nigeria's most influential pastors, and General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God with branches...

Human Rights Watch says Hotel Rwanda film hero and government critic Paul Rusesabagina was forcibly disappeared

The government of Rwanda’s arrest of a prominent critic of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) amounted to an enforced disappearance, a...

Buhari mourns Gowon’s presidential fleet pilot Captain Paul Mamman Thahal

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent condolences to the family of former Managing Director of Nigeria Airways, Captain Paul Mamman Thahal, OON,...

Washington D.C. publisher trying to raise $1 million on Facebook has only raised $30

A Washington D.C. publisher trying to raise a million dollars via Facebook has only received $30 from two donations, including his....

South African president gives defense minister 48 hours to explain why air force plane was used to fly ANC members to Zimbabwe

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has given Minister of Defense and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula 48 hours to explain why a South...

The world should hear the cries of Oromo people in Ethiopia

The Oromo people in Ethiopia are good people and the world should hear their cries for justice, equality, peace, liberty, democracy...

Stay connected

[/read_more]

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

Share
WhatsApp
Reddit
Tweet
Share