Burundi: 5 women’s organizations ask President Ndayishimiye to free eight activists, including six women

Burundi: 5 women’s organizations ask President Ndayishimiye to free eight activists, including six women

Five Burundian women’s organizations in exile demanded the Burundian president to release human rights defenders. In their letter, they say the persons concerned are illegally detained in reference to United Nations resolution A/RES/68/181. It’s about the “Promotion of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: Protection of Women Human Rights Defenders men/women’s rights defenders. The detainees include six women. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

The authors of the letter of March 23 are Burundian women’s rights organisations in Burundi jointly with their sisters in Africa and around the world.

“In your capacity as President and Supreme Magistrate of the Republic, we ask you to do everything in your power so that our six (6) human rights defender sisters and our two (2) human rights defender brothers currently in custody, be immediately and unconditionally released,” they wrote.

The interested parties are Floriane Irangabiye, journalist for the online radio IGICANIRO, Emilienne Sibomana, trade union official at the Christ Roi Technical High School (political capital Gitega), member of the National Federation of Teachers’ Unions (FENASEB), lawyers Sonia Ndikumasabo and Marie Emerusabe of the Association of Women Lawyers of Burundi (AFJB), Sylvana Inamahoro of the Association for Peace and Human Rights. Just like Audace Havyarimana and Prosper Runyange, who also work for the APDH.

The organizations point out that these activists are all detained for “their patriotic commitment to the defense of human rights in their capacity as journalists, educators or members of human rights organizations”.

Illegal detention

Based on resolution A/RES/68/181 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 2013, the organizations find that the activists are illegally detained.

The resolution says, in its paragraph 11 that “the independence of justice is a fundamental principle and that procedural guarantees must be put in place in accordance with the obligations and commitments of States under international law. Human Rights Defenders in order to protect women human rights defenders from unjustified criminal proceedings or sanctions for their activities under the Declaration”.

National legislative and administrative provisions and their enforcement facilitate, rather than hinder, the work of women’s human rights defenders, including by safeguarding their activities from criminalization or stigmatization and their legitimate role, they continue.

Based on the declarations of President Évariste Ndayishimiye that “any defendant who is not accused of a crime of assassination or attack on the integrity of the human person, will remain at liberty throughout the procedure in his charge “, he was then asked to release the detained activists.

“The charges against them seem to stem only from their patriotic activities in the defense of human rights, which is not prohibited by Burundian law. The search and reception of financial support either from internal or foreign sources, which are an integral part of the proper functioning of any organization and fall within their right to freedom of association, cannot be turned into an offence”, support the signatories of the letter.

Before demanding their unconditional release, the organizations consider that the detention of human rights defenders seems rather aimed at intimidating and discouraging the family of human rights defenders and severely reduces the space for action of civil society, in contradiction to President Ndayishimiye’s promise to improve the human rights situation in the country.

“The true measure of a society is in the way it treats its most vulnerable members”, concludes the five organizations including Inamahoro Movement, Movement of Women and Girls for Peace and Security in Burundi (MFFPS), the Burundian Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, Light for All and ACAT-Burundi

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