Burundi journalists Union with other NGO’s banned

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By Staff Writer

Accused of deviating from the goals set in their statutes, five local non-governmental organizations have been completely banned from working in Burundi by the Interior Minister.

The organizations include-The Forum for the Strengthening of Civil Society (FORSC), The Forum for Awareness and Development (FOCODE), Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), The Association for Protection of the Human Rights and Detained persons (APRODH) also the Network of Honest Citizens (RCP).

“These associations are rather busy tarnishing the image of their country and stirring up hatred and division between Burundians,” said Pascal Barandagiye the interior Minister.

Among the suspended is the Burundian Journalists Union, who many of the members and leaders live in exile. Alexandre Niyungeko, the chairman of UBJ says they have not been surprised at all. “Since the last days, Burundian journalists have been ill-treated. UBJ has many times stood up to defend its members. Some of them have been abducted and arrested while others mistreated. UBJ is a victim of its activities.”

Barandagiye said on 19 October that the above organizations are completely banned from operating in Burundi after repeated warnings that they have deviated from their missions.

“We are not surprised to see that these days Burundi government has desperately taken measures to withdraw from the ICC, suspend the cooperation with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, disbar some lawyers,” said Armel Niyongere, the chairman of ACAT.

The suspension of these associations means nothing as they will continue their struggle to fight against impunity some banned NGO’s leaders.

Vital Nshimirimana, the chairman of FORSC, said –“It is regrettable to hear that the Minister has taken such a measure while he was supposed to work in accordance with the law. The measure is baseless. In this context, the minister was not right to suspend any association without the will of its members”, he says.

Nshimirimana says they are going to appeal to the international court until the decision is reviewed. “We exhort the population to intervene for their benefit as they are the ones that are first targeted”, he says.

This complete ban comes after the decision to temporarily suspend the above mentioned organizations on 23 November 2015. While some organizations are completely suspended, others are temporarily suspended Beside these five associations completely banned from working on the Burundian territory, there are five others which have been provisionally suspended this 24 October by the interior ministry.

The associations include the Burundian coalition of Civil Society for the Electoral Monitoring- COSOME, the Burundian coalition for the ICC-CB-CPI, the Burundian Union of Journalists-UBJ, the human Rights Association-Ligue Iteka and SOS-Torture Burundi. The Interior Minister says their activities are likely to disrupt order and State security.


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