Human Rights: Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi

Protocol I, Chapter II: Article 6:

2. Prevention, suppression and eradication of acts of genocide, war crimes and other crimes against humanity, as well as violations of human rights, including those which are gender-based.

Protocol II, Chapter 1,

Article 3: Charter of Fundamental Rights

1. The rights and duties proclaimed and guaranteed inter alia by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child shall form an integral part of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi. These fundamental rights shall not be limited or derogated from, except in justifiable circumstances acceptable in international law and set forth in the Constitution.

2. All citizens shall have rights and obligations.

3. Human dignity shall be respected and protected.

4. All women and men shall be equal. No one may be discriminated against, inter alia, on grounds of origin, race, ethnicity, gender, colour, language, social situation, or religious, philosophical or political convictions, or by reason of a physical or mental handicap. All citizens shall enjoy equal protection of the law, as well as equal treatment under the law.

5. No person shall be arbitrarily dealt with by the State or its organs.

6. All women and men shall have the right to life.

7. All women and men shall have the right to personal freedom, including to physical and mental integrity, and to freedom of movement. Torture and any other kind of cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment shall be prohibited. Everyone shall have the right to be free from violence from either public or private sources.

8. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude. Slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

9. The State shall to the extent possible ensure that all citizens have the means to lead an existence consistent with human dignity.

10. All women and men shall have the right to respect for their private and family life, residence and personal communications.

11. There shall be freedom of marriage, including the right to choose one's partner. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

12. The family, as the fundamental unit of society, shall be entitled to protection by society and the State.

13. Freedom of expression and of the media shall be guaranteed. The State shall respect freedom of religion, belief, conscience and opinion.

14. Freedom of assembly and association shall be guaranteed, as shall freedom to form non-profit-making associations or organizations in conformity with the law.

15. All Burundian citizens shall have the right to move and settle freely anywhere in the national territory, as well as to leave it and return to it.

16. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of her/his nationality or denied the right to change it.

17. No one may be denied access to basic education. The State shall organize public education, and shall develop and promote access to secondary and post-secondary education.

18. The State shall ensure the good management and utilization of the nation's natural resources on a sustainable basis, conserving such resources for future generations.

19. Property rights shall be guaranteed for all women and men. Compensation that is fair and equitable under the circumstances shall be payable in case of expropriation, which shall be allowed only in the public interest and in accordance with a law which shall also set forth the basis of compensation.

20. The right to form and join trade unions and to strike shall be recognized. The law may regulate the exercise of these rights and prohibit certain categories of persons from going on strike.

21. Everyone shall have the right, in judicial or administrative proceedings, for her/his case to be dealt with equitably and decided within a reasonable time limit. Everyone shall have the right to due process and a fair trial.

22. No one may be deprived of her/his liberty other than in conformity with the law.

23. The State shall be under an obligation to promote the development of the country, especially rural development.

24. Each individual shall have the duty to respect and show consideration for her/his fellow citizens without any discrimination.

25. All citizens shall be required to discharge their civic obligations, and to defend their homeland.

26. Every child shall have the right to special measures to protect or promote her/his care, welfare, health and physical security, and to be protected from maltreatment, abuse or exploitation.

27. No child shall be used directly in armed conflict, and children shall be protected in times of armed conflict.

28. No child shall be detained except as a measure of last resort, in which case the child may be detained only for the shortest appropriate period of time and shall have the right to be kept separately from detained persons over the age of 16 years and to be treated in a manner, and kept in conditions, that take account of her/his age.

29. Any restriction of a fundamental right must have a legal basis; it must be justified by the public interest or by the protection of another person's fundamental right; it must be proportional to the objective pursued.

30. Fundamental rights must be respected throughout the legal, administrative and institutional order. The Constitution shall be the supreme law and must be upheld by the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. Any law that is not in conformity with the Constitution shall be invalid.

Protocol III, Chapter I,

Article 8: Protection of the inalienable rights of the human person

It is the duty of the State:

1. To protect the inalienable rights of the human person, starting with the right to life and including the rights to freedom, security, work, education and freedom of expression, and all other rights embodied inter alia in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the international conventions to which Burundi is a party;

2. To prohibit and punish violations of the inalienable rights of the human person;

3. To institute a proactive policy aimed at promoting human rights through education and training of the population, including all political and technical officials.

Implementation History

2003

Minimum Implementation

In Arusha accord parties committed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Burundi had ratified Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990.1 On 4 April 1991, Burundi ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women by Decree – Law No. 1/006, without any reservation.2 The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights was ratified by Burundi on 28 July 1989.3 The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was ratified by Burundi on 9 May 1990.4

After the Arusha Agreement, in July 2002, the parliament adopted a draft law on trade union and strike rights for the civil servants.5Despite commitment to international human rights treaty, Burundi’s commitment to human rights as provided in the Arusha Accord did not materialize. In fact, there were reports of security forces being involved in political killings, frequent repots of kidnaping and disappearances, continued practice of torture. Excessive forces were used during demonstrations. Domestic violence against women was common.6

2004

Minimum Implementation

The United States State Department in its human rights report suggested no arbitrary or political killings involving security forces took place in 2004. There was no report of politically motivated kidnappings. But torture was practiced by CNDD-FDD throughout the year.7

2005

Minimum Implementation

There was no report of politically motivated kidnappings. But torture was practiced by CNDD-FDD throughout the year. Similarly, there were reports of arbitrary and politically motivated arrests.8 

2006

Minimum Implementation

While reduced from the days of the conflict, human rights violations including arbitrary arrest, collective punishment, sexually based violence and extra-judicial killings have continued. Both the military and police forces have been repeatedly implicated by human rights groups. The rates of violation have reduced since the signing of a cease-fire with the FNL, but they are far from over.

While Burundi remains normatively committed various human rights provisions as stipulated in the accord, Burundi’s human rights practice did not improve even after the transitional period was over in 2005.9

2007

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.

2008

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.

2009

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.

2010

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.

2011

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.

2012

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed.