Showing posts tagged as "Burundi"

Showing posts tagged Burundi

25 Apr
"The CNDD-FDD leadership is so power-hungry and insecure that it wants to reduce the political space as much as it can before the 2015 elections"

—Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa Project Director for the International Crisis Group on Burundi’s upcoming election, Al Jazeera

12 Feb
Fields of Bitterness (I): Land Reform in Burundi
Africa Report N°213 | 12 Feb 2014
The full report is available in French.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Burundi, whose population lives mainly in rural areas, is facing two land problems. The first is structural and due to poor land management, particularly in a context of high population growth, which generates violence and crime. The second is a legacy of the civil war that deprived hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people of their properties. Only renewed focus and fresh thinking can help prevent rural criminal violence. However, instead of meaningful reform, only a review of the land code has been implemented. The impact of the absence of a comprehensive change in land governance, especially on conflict resolution, will continue to fuel public resentment, especially for those who have been dispossessed of their properties or have limited access to land ownership. The sense of injustice and the pressing need for land will likely contribute to future conflicts unless the government adopts a new approach.
Burundi’s overcrowded rural population is a challenge to its land management system and is the source of deep socioeconomic resentment that in part fuelled the civil war. With one of the highest population densities on the continent (about 400 people per square kilometre) and 90 per cent of the population dependent on agriculture, Burundi needs to be a good example of land management. On the contrary, however, bad land governance is deeply rooted and old regulation mechanisms are obsolete, thus contributing to conflict, social tensions and a malnutrition rate close to 75 per cent. Fourteen years on, the ambitious land reform provided for in the Arusha agreement has been superficial at best and has not met expectations.
Several shortcomings explain this failure: the absence of tight control over state prerogatives, which generates abuses and increases land insecurity; lack of coordination between reform initiatives, which leads to a duplication of roles and reduces the efficiency of land institutions; lack of independence of the judiciary; inequalities in land access (especially for women); and disappearance of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms.
Resolving land conflicts will require much more than a simple change in the political balance of power between the Tutsi elite, which has dominated the political arena since independence, and the Hutu majority, in power since 2005. Burundi needs a global vision on land that will take into account socio-economic realities and break with bad governance practices of the past.
Preparations for the 2015 elections have started and land issues will be a divisive topic during the campaign. The government should, with the support of international partners, implement the following measures:
elaborate a new rural development strategy that fully integrates the land policy;
pass a law on inheritance to promote gender equality, to include all land users (particularly women and children) in land certification and to allow the advance registration of estates for the purposes of succession (ie, before the concerned person’s death);
launch a national campaign to promote peaceful land dispute resolution; and
develop mediation and conciliation within the courts, as well as establish sustainable local land management services.
This report, the first in a two-part series, examines why reform has failed to improve land governance since the 2000 Arusha agreement. It suggests a way forward to relaunch land reform initiatives in a comprehensive and coherent manner. A second report will analyse the complex land restitution policy for refugees and displaced persons.
Nairobi/Brussels, 12 February 2014

Fields of Bitterness (I): Land Reform in Burundi

Africa Report N°213 | 12 Feb 2014

The full report is available in French.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Burundi, whose population lives mainly in rural areas, is facing two land problems. The first is structural and due to poor land management, particularly in a context of high population growth, which generates violence and crime. The second is a legacy of the civil war that deprived hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people of their properties. Only renewed focus and fresh thinking can help prevent rural criminal violence. However, instead of meaningful reform, only a review of the land code has been implemented. The impact of the absence of a comprehensive change in land governance, especially on conflict resolution, will continue to fuel public resentment, especially for those who have been dispossessed of their properties or have limited access to land ownership. The sense of injustice and the pressing need for land will likely contribute to future conflicts unless the government adopts a new approach.

Burundi’s overcrowded rural population is a challenge to its land management system and is the source of deep socioeconomic resentment that in part fuelled the civil war. With one of the highest population densities on the continent (about 400 people per square kilometre) and 90 per cent of the population dependent on agriculture, Burundi needs to be a good example of land management. On the contrary, however, bad land governance is deeply rooted and old regulation mechanisms are obsolete, thus contributing to conflict, social tensions and a malnutrition rate close to 75 per cent. Fourteen years on, the ambitious land reform provided for in the Arusha agreement has been superficial at best and has not met expectations.

Several shortcomings explain this failure: the absence of tight control over state prerogatives, which generates abuses and increases land insecurity; lack of coordination between reform initiatives, which leads to a duplication of roles and reduces the efficiency of land institutions; lack of independence of the judiciary; inequalities in land access (especially for women); and disappearance of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms.

Resolving land conflicts will require much more than a simple change in the political balance of power between the Tutsi elite, which has dominated the political arena since independence, and the Hutu majority, in power since 2005. Burundi needs a global vision on land that will take into account socio-economic realities and break with bad governance practices of the past.

Preparations for the 2015 elections have started and land issues will be a divisive topic during the campaign. The government should, with the support of international partners, implement the following measures:

  • elaborate a new rural development strategy that fully integrates the land policy;
  • pass a law on inheritance to promote gender equality, to include all land users (particularly women and children) in land certification and to allow the advance registration of estates for the purposes of succession (ie, before the concerned person’s death);
  • launch a national campaign to promote peaceful land dispute resolution; and
  • develop mediation and conciliation within the courts, as well as establish sustainable local land management services.

This report, the first in a two-part series, examines why reform has failed to improve land governance since the 2000 Arusha agreement. It suggests a way forward to relaunch land reform initiatives in a comprehensive and coherent manner. A second report will analyse the complex land restitution policy for refugees and displaced persons.

Nairobi/Brussels, 12 February 2014

5 Feb

Burundi: Stifling Dissent

Due to the 2010 electoral impasse in Burundi, the Arusha agreement has been replaced by a de facto one-party system, characterised by the end of dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition, the government’s authoritarian drift and the resumption of political violence. Today, the only possible checks on power come from the media and civil society, but journalists and activists are under threat from government crackdown. 

Our Communications Officer, Samer Abu Rass, visited Bujumbura where he discussed the government’s creeping authoritarianism with journalists, civil society actors, and lawyers.

30 Nov
Burundi: New Rebel Group Strikes in Burundi | allAfrica
By Georges Nikiza
Late last month, a group of armed insurgents crossed into Burundi from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and attacked three communes in the north of the country. Responsibility for the campaign was claimed by a new rebel group calling itself the Murundi People’s Front, ‘the Saviours’ (FPM-Abatabazi). The group said it was opposed to the increasingly authoritarian regime of Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza.
Though Burundi has experienced its fair share of rebel raids in recent years, this being the sixth significant group to declare war on Nkurunziza’s government since the controversial elections of 2010, an increasing trend of violence threatens to pull the nation back into full-scale civil conflict.
FULL ARTICLE (allAfrica)
Photo: United Nations Photo/Flickr

Burundi: New Rebel Group Strikes in Burundi | allAfrica

By Georges Nikiza

Late last month, a group of armed insurgents crossed into Burundi from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and attacked three communes in the north of the country. Responsibility for the campaign was claimed by a new rebel group calling itself the Murundi People’s Front, ‘the Saviours’ (FPM-Abatabazi). The group said it was opposed to the increasingly authoritarian regime of Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Though Burundi has experienced its fair share of rebel raids in recent years, this being the sixth significant group to declare war on Nkurunziza’s government since the controversial elections of 2010, an increasing trend of violence threatens to pull the nation back into full-scale civil conflict.

FULL ARTICLE (allAfrica)

Photo: United Nations Photo/Flickr

5 Nov
Burundi’s economic reform too slow for its impoverished citizens | Reuters
By Duncan Miriri
BUJUMBURA, Nov 4 (Reuters) - The central African nation of Burundi may be winning plaudits for its economic reforms and relative peace after nearly two decades of civil war, but shopowners like Niyonzima Alimasi have little to cheer.
"Purchasing power is low," said Alimasi, 31, who runs a hardware shop on a crowded street in the capital Bujumbura, nestled on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
"Business is very shaky. There are few buyers," he said, standing in his shop crammed with tins of paint, door locks and nails imported from China.
The tiny country targets economic growth of around 4 percent this year, supported by booming exports of tea and coffee, but high oil prices, drought and lower aid assistance have eroded the Burundi franc’s value against the dollar by nearly half in the past three years, driving up consumer prices and causing widespread hardship for its citizens.
FULL ARTICLE (Reuters) 
Photo: Samadolfo/Wikimedia Commons

Burundi’s economic reform too slow for its impoverished citizens | Reuters

By Duncan Miriri

BUJUMBURA, Nov 4 (Reuters) - The central African nation of Burundi may be winning plaudits for its economic reforms and relative peace after nearly two decades of civil war, but shopowners like Niyonzima Alimasi have little to cheer.

"Purchasing power is low," said Alimasi, 31, who runs a hardware shop on a crowded street in the capital Bujumbura, nestled on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

"Business is very shaky. There are few buyers," he said, standing in his shop crammed with tins of paint, door locks and nails imported from China.

The tiny country targets economic growth of around 4 percent this year, supported by booming exports of tea and coffee, but high oil prices, drought and lower aid assistance have eroded the Burundi franc’s value against the dollar by nearly half in the past three years, driving up consumer prices and causing widespread hardship for its citizens.

FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)

Photo: Samadolfo/Wikimedia Commons

26 Oct
"On the one hand, socio-economic problems, rising social discontent and extrajudicial killings put severe strains on the government. On the other hand, parallel dialogues have recently started between the European Union and the Burundian government and between Burundian political actors."

—from the executive summary of Crisis Group’s latest report, “Burundi: Bye-bye Arusha?

25 Oct
"Respect for the political minorities and rule of law has been largely ignored since 2010. To ensure lasting stability, the political actors should resume dialogue, guarantee pluralism for the 2015 elections and support a consensual transitional justice process."

—from the executive summary of Crisis Group’s latest report, “Burundi: Bye-bye Arusha?

"Although the institutions are functioning and the government has been priding itself on its development and security achievements, Burundi is regressing. Due to the 2010 electoral impasse, the Arusha agreement has been replaced by a de facto one-party system characterised by the end of dialogue between the opposition and the ruling party, the government’s authoritarian drift and the resumption of political violence."

—from the executive summary of Crisis Group’s latest report, “Burundi: Bye-bye Arusha?

Burundi: Bye-bye Arusha?
Bujumbura/Nairobi/Brussels | 25 Oct 2012
Since the 2010 boycotted elections, Burundi is steadily drifting away from what was initially regarded as a peacemaking model, and violence from both the ruling party and the opposition is threatening stability.
Burundi: Bye-bye Arusha?, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, analyses how the control of the institutions by the ruling party and the boycott of the 2010 elections by the main opposition parties made the power-sharing system defined by the 2000 Arusha agreement irrelevant. This deal was instrumental in ending the decade-long ethnic conflict that ravaged the country and establishing the foundations of a democratic system.
“The Arusha power-sharing agreement has been replaced by a de facto one-party system characterised by the end of dialogue between the opposition and the ruling party, the government’s authoritarian drift and the resumption of political violence”, says Thierry Vircoulon, Crisis Group’s Central Africa Project Director. “Respect for the political minorities and rule of law has been largely ignored since 2010”.
The dust has not yet settled since the 2010 elections. After boycotting the electoral process, the opposition parties formed a coalition (the Democratic Alliance for Change ADC-Ikibiri) and several opposition leaders went into exile. A wave of mutual violence by the ruling party and the opposition ensued, including by armed groups operating in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The ruling party is managing state business and the transitional justice process as it wishes. It is instrumentalising the security services and is preparing constitutional change behind closed doors. Today, the only checks and balances are the media and civil society, but journalists and activists are under threat from government crackdown.
However, there is a window of opportunity. Dialogue was initiated in Switzerland last May, at a meeting hosted by the non-governmental organisation Initiatives of Change with representatives from the opposition, civil society leaders and two members of the ruling party (the National Council for the Defence of Democracy and the Forces for the Defence of Democracy, CNDD-FDD). Continuing dialogue and consolidating peace in Burundi will require mutual concessions by the ruling party and the opposition and appropriate support and pressure by the donors.
To ensure lasting stability, the political actors should resume dialogue, guarantee pluralism for the 2015 elections and support a consensual transitional justice process. International partners, who have a role to play given their significant aid contributions to Burundi, should focus on these issues in their discussions with the government. More specifically, they should support the independent human rights commission, help to protect journalists and civil society activists and promote a security sector reform centred on human rights.
“The government of Burundi needs to initiate quickly inclusive talks as a follow-up to the Switzerland meeting and focus on the return of the opposition leaders, the respect of political freedom, the legal framework for the 2015 elections and the political detainees issue”, says Comfort Ero, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director. 
FULL REPORT

Burundi: Bye-bye Arusha?

Bujumbura/Nairobi/Brussels | 25 Oct 2012

Since the 2010 boycotted elections, Burundi is steadily drifting away from what was initially regarded as a peacemaking model, and violence from both the ruling party and the opposition is threatening stability.

Burundi: Bye-bye Arusha?, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, analyses how the control of the institutions by the ruling party and the boycott of the 2010 elections by the main opposition parties made the power-sharing system defined by the 2000 Arusha agreement irrelevant. This deal was instrumental in ending the decade-long ethnic conflict that ravaged the country and establishing the foundations of a democratic system.

“The Arusha power-sharing agreement has been replaced by a de facto one-party system characterised by the end of dialogue between the opposition and the ruling party, the government’s authoritarian drift and the resumption of political violence”, says Thierry Vircoulon, Crisis Group’s Central Africa Project Director. “Respect for the political minorities and rule of law has been largely ignored since 2010”.

The dust has not yet settled since the 2010 elections. After boycotting the electoral process, the opposition parties formed a coalition (the Democratic Alliance for Change ADC-Ikibiri) and several opposition leaders went into exile. A wave of mutual violence by the ruling party and the opposition ensued, including by armed groups operating in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The ruling party is managing state business and the transitional justice process as it wishes. It is instrumentalising the security services and is preparing constitutional change behind closed doors. Today, the only checks and balances are the media and civil society, but journalists and activists are under threat from government crackdown.

However, there is a window of opportunity. Dialogue was initiated in Switzerland last May, at a meeting hosted by the non-governmental organisation Initiatives of Change with representatives from the opposition, civil society leaders and two members of the ruling party (the National Council for the Defence of Democracy and the Forces for the Defence of Democracy, CNDD-FDD). Continuing dialogue and consolidating peace in Burundi will require mutual concessions by the ruling party and the opposition and appropriate support and pressure by the donors.

To ensure lasting stability, the political actors should resume dialogue, guarantee pluralism for the 2015 elections and support a consensual transitional justice process. International partners, who have a role to play given their significant aid contributions to Burundi, should focus on these issues in their discussions with the government. More specifically, they should support the independent human rights commission, help to protect journalists and civil society activists and promote a security sector reform centred on human rights.

“The government of Burundi needs to initiate quickly inclusive talks as a follow-up to the Switzerland meeting and focus on the return of the opposition leaders, the respect of political freedom, the legal framework for the 2015 elections and the political detainees issue”, says Comfort Ero, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director. 

FULL REPORT

4 May
VOA | Report: In Burundi, Hundreds of Extrajudicial Killings
Human Rights Watch (HRW) released an 81-page report on Wednesday in the capital, Bujumbura, documenting scores of killings by state agents and rebel groups.Findings of the report, “’You Will Not Have Peace While You Are Living’: The Escalation of Political Violence in Burundi,” indicate that few cases have gone to trial, reflecting widespread impunity and an ineffective judiciary.
According to the report, the spate of extrajudicial killings began after the 2010 elections, won by President Pierre Nkurunziza and his CNDD FDD party.  Burundian human rights groups estimate there have been as many as 300 such killings.
FULL ARTICLE (VOA)

VOA | Report: In Burundi, Hundreds of Extrajudicial Killings

Human Rights Watch (HRW) released an 81-page report on Wednesday in the capital, Bujumbura, documenting scores of killings by state agents and rebel groups.

Findings of the report, “’You Will Not Have Peace While You Are Living’: The Escalation of Political Violence in Burundi,” indicate that few cases have gone to trial, reflecting widespread impunity and an ineffective judiciary.

According to the report, the spate of extrajudicial killings began after the 2010 elections, won by President Pierre Nkurunziza and his CNDD FDD party.  Burundian human rights groups estimate there have been as many as 300 such killings.

FULL ARTICLE (VOA)