Human Right

UN calls on Burundi to reverse its decision to ban Ligue Iteka

Burundi Government has recently struck off the “Ligue Iteka” human rights association accusing it of recalcitrant behavior. The UN and other organizations stand against the decision.

“Ligue Iteka” organization’s headquarters in the capital Bujumbura

“Ligue Iteka” organization’s headquarters in the capital Bujumbura

“We are very disappointed to hear that the Burundian Government has banned the country’s oldest human rights organization, Ligue Iteka”, said Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the UN Secretary General.

He says Ligue Iteka does a crucial work in monitoring and documenting human rights abuses committed in relation to the precarious human rights situation prevailing in the country.

“We call on the government to reverse its decision and review its restrictions on other human rights and civil society organizations that have been sanctioned in the past three months”, he says.

For the International Federation for the Human Rights (FIDH), the measure is retaliatory. “Striking off the oldest human rights organization tarnishes the image of the country and attracts the International community’s attention on the abuses committed in Burundi”, said Dimitris Christopoulos, FIDH chairperson.

Mathieu Sake, Chairman of the Community Association for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights says the decision to strike off“Ligue Iteka” organization is a drastic measure ever taken given that its goal was the promotion of Human Rights long ago. “ “Ligue Iteka” is a pioneer in the defense of human rights associations. If a member breaks the law, he/she would be sanctioned individually but not the entire association to which he /she belongs. Ligue Iteka contributed greatly in the defense of human rights”, he says.

Gilbert Bécaud Njangwa, Chairman of the National Center of Elections and Organizations for the Progress (ONELOP) said the striking off of the organization is a right decision. “All NGOs which do not respect the regulations must be banned”, he says.

Térence Ntahiraja, Assistant to and spokesman for the Interior Ministry says “Ligue Iteka” didn’t respect its objectives since it was temporarily suspended on 24 October 2016. “Ligue Iteka worked hand in hand with the enemies of democracy by producing wrong reports on Burundi”, he says.

Willy Nyamitwe, Senior Advisor in charge of media, information and communication at the presidency, says on his tweet account that “Burundi cannot tolerate anyone who wants to divide Burundians on ethnic basis”.