On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, the National Assembly met in a plenary session to analyze the 2019 annual report of Burundi’s Independent National Commission for Human Rights (CNIDH) presented by Dr. Sixte Vigny Nimuraba, the president of the commission.
According to the report, 290 cases of alleged violations of human rights and abuses were received by the CNIDH. Of these, 204 were deemed admissible (70.1%) against 86 found inadmissible (29.5%).
It also informs that 188 (64.5%) cases were processed and completed, and the remaining 103 (35.4%) are still in progress noting that there are cases that present complexity and require technical and financial means and are still subject to follow-up.
Of these reported cases, 173 were related to civil and political rights; 28 economic, social and cultural rights— 53 related to services, 12 on the rights of the child and 24 related to civil and criminal cases of ordinary law outside the jurisdiction of the CNIDH.
CNIDH deplores prison overcrowding
“The occupancy rate of 4,194 inmates was 273.3%. Out of a total of 11,464 prisoners, 5,224 were still in preventive detention, i.e. 45.5% on 12/27/2019.”
79 prisons were visited, Dr. Nimuraba explains that 2,413 people made up of 2,055 men and 237 women (including 4 with their infants), 116 boys and 5 minor girls were heard. After the plea of the CNIDH, 154 detainees have been released.
The CNIDH deplores the small size of the cells of certain prisons compared to the number of detainees and a tendency to prolonged detention “out of 11,464 prisoners, 5,224 were still in preventive detention” notes the report.
The report recognizes the significant reduction in cases of exceeding the legal time limit for police custody. On the other hand, it underlines the numerous cases of illegal pre-trial detention, including those ordered by administrative authorities, the non-renewal of orders for prolongation of detention, which is however compulsory after each month of detention on remand.
The CNIDH welcomes the positive measures taken by the government to reduce prison overcrowding. It notes the Decree No. 100/08 of January 23, 2019, on presidential pardon measures. It informs that 2,381 detained persons had already left prisons, 414 had benefited from the reduction of sentences until December 9, 2019, as part of the implementation of the presidential pardon.
Asked about the status B of the CNIDH, Dr. Nimuraba informed that once the international community will understand the efforts made by the Government in the consolidation of peace, security and human rights situation, it will enhance this status by supporting the effective resumption of cooperation with Burundi while respecting the sovereignty and national independence.
The CNIDH calls on officials of political parties and organizations for mutual respect and respect for the laws and regulations relating to electoral competition. And informs civil society organizations to carry out their activities in strict compliance with the respective laws, regulations, and statutes.
About CNIDH (Commission Nationale Indépendante des Droits de l’Homme du Burundi)
The CNIDH is an independent national institution created by law n ° 1/04 of January 5, 2011, creating the Independent National Commission for Human Rights.
In its operation, the Commission is only subject to the law. No state body can issue injunctions. All state services provide assistance and support it needs.
It is made up of (7) Commissioners elected for a 4-year term. The Commission is run by an Executive committee of three members (President, Vice-President and Secretary).
The Commission has a Permanent Secretariat and 4 regional offices (West, Center-East, North, and South).
The CNIDH is a member of various networks of national human rights institutions including the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (RINADH), the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI ), the Francophone Association of National Human Rights Commissions (AFCNDH) and the INDH Forum of the EAC. It has affiliate status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.