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

1,017FollowersFollow

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. 

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.  “

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

Biden to use walking boot for several weeks after sustaining fractures while playing with dog, doctor says

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden sustained a sprain of his right foot while playing with his dog, Major, his doctor said on Sunday. "Initial X-rays are...

President-elect Joe Biden slips while playing with dog, twists ankle

U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. slipped while playing with his dog, Major, and twisted his ankle. The President-elect is being examined at Delaware Orthopaedic...

Ethiopian forces set to take Tigrayan capital, as many fear mass civilian deaths

The Ethiopian military said late on Friday that government forces were set to take control of Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray, even as...

Biden appoints Jen Psaki White House Press Secretary, announces other communications positions

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Sunday announced new members of the White House staff who will serve in senior communications...

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and 13-year old daughter Gianna Maria Onore die in helicopter crash. He was 41

Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers legend who was considered one of the greatest basketball players of his generation, has died in a helicopter...

Nigerian-American Adewale Adeyemo makes history as President-elect Biden announces members of his economic team

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Monday announced key members of his economic team, including Janet Yellen as Secretary of the Treasury; Neera Tanden as...

President-elect Joe Biden’s national security and foreign policy team praised as experienced and historic choices

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announced key members of his national security and foreign policy team on Monday, including Antony Blinken as Secretary of State;...

Wisconsin certifies Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump

The battleground state of Wisconsin on Monday certified its presidential election results with Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the winner following a partial recount...

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden says he’s concerned about escalating violence in Ethiopia and worries about civilians

U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday said he was concerned about the escalating violence in Ethiopia. In a call with the United Nations...

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks with Presidents of Kenya, Argentina and Costa Rica, and UN chief

U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday spoke with world leaders, including President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, the second African leader after his...

Biden’s economic team praised as experienced and historic

U.S. President-elect's economic team has been praised as experience and historic. Biden on Monday announced key members of his economic team, including Janet Yellen...

Arizona certifies Biden’s win, dealing another blow to Trump

Arizona on Monday certified President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s win in the state, dealing another blow to President Donald Trump's attempt to overturn the...

President-elect Joe Biden tests negative for coronavirus

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden tested negative for coronavirus on Monday, his office said in a brief statement.  “President-elect Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19...

Nigerian-American Adewale Adeyemo makes history as President-elect Biden announces members of his economic team

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Monday announced key members of his economic team, including Janet Yellen as Secretary of the Treasury; Neera Tanden as...

Wisconsin certifies Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump

The battleground state of Wisconsin on Monday certified its presidential election results with Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the winner following a partial recount that saw the Democrat expand his lead over President Donald Trump. "Today, I carried out my duty to certify the November 3rd election," Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, said after signing a certificate that showed that Biden won the state...
error: Alert: Content is protected !!
Share
WhatsApp
Tweet
Pin
Share