PISC-Burundi and CAPES+ praise government ban on other civil society organisations

Non-profit groups PISC-Burundi and CAPES+ have made a joint declaration in which they praise the recent government’s crackdown on major civil rights and other non-profit groups. For Hamza Venant Burikukiye, the legal representative of CAPES+, those banned and suspended civil society organizations did not abide by their statute and worked to tarnish their country’s image. And for that “it is a long-standing Burundian tradition to disown a rebellious child”, he said.

The platform for Burundi civil society (PISC-Burundi) and the collective of associations of people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS (CAPES+) are alternative groups of civil society organisations that were created in opposition to existing groups that were judged to lean towards the Burundi opposition. In 2014, PISC denounced the politicisation of some human rights groups like APRODH and FORSC. PISC-Burundi accused those groups of not contributing to the socio-economic development of the nation.

PISC-Burundi and CAPES+ are said to usually make declarations that are pro-government. When asked about their pro-government stance, the legal representative of CAPES+ replied: “The government is our parent. We exist because it allowed us to exist and we promised to help it in the progress of our nation”.

The government of Burundi has recently banned five non-profit groups of which the major human rights coalition FORSC (Forum for the Strengthening of Civil Society) and the prominent group APRODH (Association for Protection of the Human Rights and Detained persons). Accusations included incitement to hatred and tarnishing the country’s image.

Five others were suspended temporarily.

In their joint press release, PISC-Burundi and CAPES+ have further congratulated the government for having severed ties with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Burundi. For those groups, that alone is not sufficient as a measure because it is “too light”. They say the government should investigate and eventually indict Burundians and members of civil society organisations who collaborated with the UN human rights experts whose report mentioned serious violations of human rights involving government officials.