Reprisals against four lawyers in Burundi

Who we wrote to

President of the Republic of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza.

What’s the issue

We’re concerned about reprisals against four lawyers in Burundi:

  • Armel Niyongere
  • Lambert Nigarura
  • Dieudonné Bashirahishize
  • Vital Nshimirimana

These four lawyers are prominent human rights activists in Burundi and have previously worked both in domestic and international human rights cases.

We understand that these four lawyers have been victims of state reprisals after providing evidence to the Burundian Civil Society alternative report.

The report documented several human rights violations, including cases of torture, carried out in Burundi. It was presented before the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT).

On 29 July 2016, the Burundian delegation before the CAT refused to participate in the subsequent review sessions due to the information included in the alternative report of the Burundian Civil Society.

We also understand that on the same day a Burundian prosecutor requested to the president of the Bujumbura Bar Council to delist the four lawyers from their professional registrar, alleging several offences being committed by the lawyers, including insurrection and attempted coup.

What we asked for

We urged the president to ensure that:

  • all necessary actions are undertaken to stop any acts of reprisal against lawyers
  • lawyers in Burundi are afforded the requisite protection in accordance with the internationally recognised principles outlined above, so that their ability to practice as lawyers is not impeded
  • any form of reprisal against the four lawyers is expeditiously terminated