Burundi's decision to restore legal status to a prominent activist group banned in 2009 is a positive step and should prompt further government actions to engage with civil society, Human Rights Watch has said. On 28 January, Interior Minister Edouard Nduwimana reversed a November 2009 order that had banned the Forum for the Strengthening of Civil Society (Forum pour le Renforcement de la Société Civile, FORSC). FORSC is an umbrella organisation that coordinates initiatives by Burundian civil...read more

After living abroad as refugees for years – in some cases decades – many of the half-million people who have returned to Burundi since 2002 are having to cope with a severe shortage of one of the tiny country’s most precious commodities: land. 'The issue of access and entitlement to arable land on which to undertake subsistence farming and of securing shelter [for the returnees] ... are among the most acute hurdles which continue to confront returnees,' Hugues van Brabandt, associate external...read more

Sex workers operating in East Africa are generally aware of the HIV risks of unprotected sex, but for many of them, the extra cash incentive clients often offer for sex without a condom is worth the risk. According to Basilisa Ndayisaba, coordinator of local NGO Society for Women against AIDS in Africa (SWAA-Burundi), which raises awareness among sex workers on condom use and HIV risk, despite their best efforts, many sex workers in Bujumbura remain apathetic about condom use.

Ten years after the signing of an accord designed to move Burundi from civil war to democratic stability, the country has yet to establish transitional justice mechanisms aimed at enhancing reconciliation and bringing to book those responsible for crimes committed during the country's turbulent years. Human rights activists and political observers say the lack of these mechanisms - a truth and reconciliation commission and some form of criminal tribunal - had perpetuated a culture of impunity...read more

Burundi is cracking down on civil society, media, and opposition parties in the wake of troubled local and national elections from May through September 2010, Human Rights Watch has said in a new report. The 69-page report, 'Closing Doors?: The Narrowing of Democratic Space in Burundi', documents abuses including torture, arbitrary arrests, banning of opposition activities, and harassment of civil society groups.