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Burundi

Yearbook 2016

Burundi. According to countryaah, political turmoil and tensions in the country continued in the wake of President Pierre Nkurunziza's contentious 2015 decision to be reelected for a third term. The unrest since April 2015 has, according to the UN, demanded at least 500 dead and over 300,000 people had moved to neighboring countries by the end of 2016. Other data talked about over 1,000 dead.

2016 Burundi

According to independent UN experts and human rights groups, security forces, militia groups and members of the ruling party are suspected of CNDD-FND youth associations for murder as well as torture, group rape and disappearance.

In April, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that a preliminary investigation into these suspected crimes has been initiated.

The government was very critical and announced in October that the country would leave the ICC. Similarly, three UN reporters who published a report on abuse in September and pointed out several suspects for crimes against humanity would not be admitted into the country.

Parliament's two chambers approved the proposal to leave the ICC by a large majority. On 27 October, the UN was notified of the decision. The formal exit process takes one year.

Burundi's Foreign Minister dismissed the criticism in a speech before the UN General Assembly in September. The country would also stop cooperating with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) who decided to review the violence.

Single shots and grenades continued. Some affected people's collections, such as a market in February when two people died and some 50 were injured. In July, female top politician Hafsa Mossi, former minister and government spokesman, was shot to death outside her residence in the capital Bujumbura. It was unknown who was behind it.

The African Union (AU), which at the end of 2015 discussed sending a peacekeeping force of 5,000 soldiers, could also not agree. In February, it was decided instead to deploy 200 AU observers, half of them military. In September, only about 50 had been admitted.

Burundi opposed a decision by the UN Security Council in July to send just over 200 police officers to monitor human rights. In November, talks were about breaking the deadlock.

UN chief Ban Ki Moon, who visited the country in February, was one of many who tried to persuade the government to start talks with the opposition without success.

In March, the East African Community (EAC) regional cooperation organization appointed neighboring country Tanzania's former president Benjamin Mkapa to mediate. The Burundi government refused to meet the opposition coalition CNARED, which Mkapa promised to take part. Burundi also asked Mkapa to work for extradition of opposition politicians in exile.

Burundi's relations with Rwanda remained strained after allegations that Kigali provided support to armed opposition groups.

Pressure against the opposition continued, as did journalists and independent human rights groups. Several militants were convicted in January for participating in the failed coup attempt in 2015. Former Defense Minister Cyrille Ndayirukiye and three other generals, for example, were given life.

One of the few leading opposition politicians who continued to operate in the country, Gervais Niyongabo of the Fedes-Sangira party, was arrested in September on charges of conspiring with an armed group.

The economy is estimated to have shrunk as a result of the political crisis and the government is investing more in the security forces. It hampers poverty reduction and investment in infrastructure, healthcare and education. The EU withdrew its budget support in February. The Capital City Council introduced parking fees for cyclists, motorcyclists and motorists to withdraw money.

The political crisis, combined with floods and droughts, was also feared to cause food shortages for just over 2.7 million people in 2017, according to the UN Food Program (WFP). In August, the government banned the export of fish, beans and cassava, for example.

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