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At a glance

The country has slipped into violence in 2015, following the contested presidential candidacy of Pierre Nkurunziza. The authorities have cracked down on human rights defenders and civil society organisations who conducted peaceful demonstrations. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi documented numerous cases of torture, ill-treatment, extrajudicial executions and sexual violence that were widely used against civilians. The government has used members of the ruling party’s youth wing, as well as the National Intelligence Service (SNR) and police to perpetrate most of the gross human rights violations. This led the International Criminal Court to open an investigation, while many civilians and leading members of the civil society sought asylum in neighbouring countries, including Rwanda. Many others have been subjected to prosecution, arbitrary detentions, lengthy prison terms, and removal from the Bar association.

The OMCT has worked since 2016 to support SOS-Torture Network members ACAT Burundi and SOS-Torture Burundi in their monitoring of serious human rights violations and abuse. The OMCT has also provided direct legal, medical, economic and psychosocial support to victims of torture and submitted a joint alternative report, with its two member organisations, to the Committee Against Torture (CAT) in 2016. Since 2019, three senior lawyers from the two member organisations have joined the SOS-Torture Litigators Group in Africa to litigate cases of torture before international treaty bodies.

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