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TITLE:  BURUNDI HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANAURY 31, 1994


Ethnic violence between Tutsi (14 percent of the population) 
and Hutu (85 percent) erupted on October 21, when a coup 
attempt by elements of the Tutsi-dominated military disrupted 
the effort, begun by former President Major Pierre Buyoya, to 
move to an open multiparty political system.  In the failed 
coup attempt, soldiers killed the first democratically elected 
President, Melchior Ndadaye, a Hutu, who had defeated Buyoya in 
presidential elections on June 1.  The assassination of 
President Ndadaye initiated a vicious cycle of ethnic killings 
and led to a massive outflow of refugees.

At year's end, the number of Burundi refugees (mainly Hutu) 
outside the country was estimated at nearly 600,000, and the 
number of displaced within the country was estimated at over 
500,000.  The refugees faced life-threatening conditions in 
countries of asylum, notably in Rwanda, where the United 
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported 
extremely high death rates due to disease and malnutrition.

Burundi authorities, religious institutions, and humanitarian 
assistance organizations agree it is too soon to make credible 
estimates of the numbers killed during the ethnic violence.  
Mortality figures will remain uncertain until enough witnesses 
return to establish the fate of others and until the 
countryside is sufficiently stabilized to permit investigation 
of suspected burial sites.

Government operations were slowly recovering at year's end.  
The Prime Minister and most of the ministers had resumed work 
in their offices, and many made assessment trips and public 
appearances in the interior.  Several ministers, particularly 
those who had received specific death threats, returned at 
night to the guarded protection of a secluded hotel.

In contrast, at the beginning of the year the outlook for 
political reform had looked promising.  Following adoption of a 
new Constitution in 1992, President Buyoya took a series of 
steps to ensure free and fair presidential and parliamentary 
elections.  These measures included developing a new Electoral 
Code and inviting more than 600 international and domestic 
election observers, who subsequently certified the validity of 
the outcomes.  In the presidential and legislative campaigns, 
Buyoya was supported by his party, the former sole ruling 
party, the National Party for Unity and Progress (UPRONA) and 
Ndadaye by his party, the Front for Democracy in Burundi 
(FRODEBU), with smaller parties generally allying themselves 
with UPRONA or FRODEBU based on their ethnic ties.  President 
Ndadaye was sworn into office in an exemplary change of power 
on July 10; and the National Assembly was sworn in shortly 
thereafter and held its initial session on July 19.  President 
Ndadaye appointed 9 Tutsis to his 23-member Cabinet.

In his 100 days in office, Ndadaye cautiously began discussing 
reform of the 18,000 member Tutsi-dominated security forces, 
consisting of the military (army and gendarmerie), the police, 
and the Surete; to increase Hutu representation in many other 
institutions, including the judiciary and the civil service; 
and to encourage the return of thousands of Hutu refugees.  A 
weak coup attempt on July 3, shortly before Ndadaye's 
inauguration, quickly dissolved after failing to gather support 
among the military.  However, on October 21, soldiers from the 
Tutsi-dominated military stormed the presidential palace and 
attempted to seize power.  President Ndadaye was taken prisoner 
and brutally slain.  The President and Vice President of the 
National Assembly, the Minister of Territorial Administration, 
and the head of the Center for Documentation (Intelligence) 
were also killed in the coup attempt, along with the wife of 
the Foreign Minister and a family friend.  Some government 
ministers initially accused the Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant 
Colonel Jean Bikomagu, of backing the coup attempt, but he 
denied involvement, as did other senior officers.  In an 
October 31 press conference, the Prime Minister gave Bikomagu a 
qualified vote of confidence.

The U.N. Security Council issued a Presidential statement 
condemning the coup attempt and the murder of President Ndadaye 
and other officials and stressed the importance of bringing 
those responsible to justice.  The Government and the military 
arrested several accused plotters, but others were still at 
large at year's end.  A national commission of inquiry was 
named but had not yet begun its work.  The Government requested 
the establishment of an international commission of inquiry, a 
proposal broadly supported by both Hutus and Tutsis.

At year's end, relations between the military and the 
Government remained tenuous.  The Government remained cautious 
toward the military, though dialog was improving slowly.  Most 
units remained in their barracks, but there were still 
occasional reports of violence by some military elements.

Landlocked Burundi is extremely poor and densely populated.  
Over four-fifths of the working population is engaged in 
subsistence agriculture, working small privately owned plots.  
The small monetary economy is based largely on the exports of 
coffee and tea, with few other cash crops.  The October coup 
attempt and ethnic killing that followed caused massive 
dislocations which severely disrupted both the monetary and 
subsistence economies.

Despite the progress on political reform made through October, 
members of both Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups committed serious 
human rights abuses during and following the coup attempt.  
Elements of the Tutsi-dominated military initiated the 
attempted coup and murdered President Ndadaye and others, 
unleashing unrestrained ethnic violence.  Both Tutsi and Hutu 
engaged in massive revenge killings of civilians.  Rogue 
elements of the military continued to operate in some parts of 
the country at year's end.  For example, in November civilians, 
reportedly aided by soldiers, killed the governor of Bubanza.  
Prior to that, some uncontrolled military elements had engaged 
in killing in the northern and central provinces of Gitega, 
Muramvya, Karuzi, Ruyigi, and Kirundo.

There were human rights abuses committed prior to the 
changeover in Government, many relating to the aftermath of the 
ethnic violence in November 1991.  For example, there were 
vigilante-style killings resulting in the deaths of eight 
persons in March.  The details of interethnic killings remained 
unclear but reportedly resulted from rivalry between FRODEBU 
and UPRONA followers in the province of Bubanza during the 
heated political campaign.  Hutu residents took the law into 
their own hands when local officials refused to pursue suspects 
who had staged harassment raids on their homes.  There were 
also examples of unfair trials, mainly involving Hutu 
defendants, stemming from the 1991 violence.  Women continued 
to experience extensive societal and legal discrimination, and, 
with their children, suffered many of the casualties in the 
latest violence.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

The Governments of President Buyoya and President Ndadaye did 
not engage in political or other extrajudicial killings.  
However, the attempted coup against the democratically elected 
Government and assassination of President Ndadaye triggered 
interethnic violence and killing on a broad scale throughout 
the country (see Section 1.g.).  By the end of the year, the 
Government and the military had arrested about nine military 
enlisted men and officers implicated in the coup plot of 
October 21.  Several others were believed at large in Burundi 
and abroad.  Investigations into the coup attempt by the 
Government and the military were continuing at year's end.

There were early warning signs of extrajudicial killings.  For 
example, in March a political party official reported that, 
following unexplained nighttime raids on Hutu houses, local 
Hutu residents in Bubanza province killed two unidentified 
persons who had allegedly harassed residents.  Apparently, the 
vigilante-style killings took place after a local administrator 
refused to take the persons into custody, telling the crowd to 
turn them over to the gendarmes.  Subsequently, local Hutu 
residents killed six additional persons in the southern portion 
of Bubanza.  The reported refusal to act by the local 
administrator contributed to heated rhetoric by both UPRONA and 
FRODEBU.  The specifics of these allegedly politically 
motivated killings had not been determined by the time of the 
October military coup attempt.

     b.  Disappearance

There were hundreds of persons reported missing in the violence 
and dislocations, but the continued instability prevailing at 
year's end precluded any formal tracing or accounting of the 
missing or dead.

Significant numbers of Hutus disappeared before, during, and 
after the November 1991 violence.  Some may have been (as the 
Government claimed) among the 40,000 Burundians who fled from 
the country to Rwanda or Zaire as a result of the violence.  
There were, however, documented cases in which persons 
disappeared after having been seen being detained by, or in the 
custody of, the security forces and in which there was no 
available record of their detention or release.  While the 
Government had announced that it intended to establish a 
commission of inquiry to determine the causes of the violence 
and deaths resulting from the events of November 1991, no 
commission was formed, and no reports were issued prior to the 
advent of the Ndadaye administration.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading
         Treatment or Punishment

These practices are expressly forbidden under the 1992 
Constitution.  During the October violence, civilians of 
opposing ethnic groups committed the most vicious examples of 
cruel and inhuman treatment.  Both Hutu and Tutsi civilians, 
armed with pangas, machetes, and spears, customarily hacked 
victims to death and reportedly tied up and forced some victims 
to witness the murders of their own spouses and children before 
killing the bound victims.  In some cases, the attackers killed 
only the men, but severely wounded or dismembered women and 
children with spears or machetes.  Military personnel were seen 
beating civilians on the street in Bujumbura shortly after the 
coup attempt.

Prison conditions were life threatening and characterized by 
severe overcrowding and inadequate hygiene, clothing, medical 
care, food, and water.  Four or even five persons were forced 
to share a poorly ventilated cell 2 meters square.  Prisoners 
had to rely on family members to ensure an adequate diet, and 
officials acknowledged that digestive illness was a major 
problem in the prisons.  Women were held separately from men.  
By mid-October, most of those eligible under President 
Ndadaye's amnesty law had been released.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Regular police and gendarmes with arrest authority are 
permitted to make arrests without a warrant but are legally 
obligated to submit a written report to a magistrate within 48 
hours of the detention.  The magistrate can order the suspect 
released or confirm the charges and continued detention, 
initially for 15 days and then subsequently for periods of 30 
days as necessary to prepare the case for trial.  The law 
allows unlimited pretrial detention.  The Surete is obligated 
to follow the same laws but is known to have detained some 
persons for a number of months without having their cases 
certified and forwarded to the Ministry of Justice as required.

Daily police operations were severely disrupted during the coup 
attempt (as were most government operations).  In normal 
circumstances, legal procedures are generally followed in 
criminal cases, though time limits prescribed by law are often 
exceeded.  Proceedings are constrained by the lack of a 
well-trained and adequately supported judiciary.  At the 
beginning of the year, the Government arrested between 40 and 
60 political activists, principally from the predominately Hutu 
parties, apparently without ever charging them.  Government 
officials subsequently said the charges ranged from stealing a 
national flag to being implicated in activities in support of 
the Hutu-insurgency group PALIPEHUTU (Party for the Liberation 
of the Hutu People).  These arrests were considered by 
political parties to have been politically motivated actions to 
impugn the stature and to weaken FRODEBU in the eyes of voters.

Political exile is forbidden in the new Constitution, and the 
Ndadaye Government did not use forced exile as a means of 
political control.  Former President Bagaza and his wife 
returned to Burundi from exile on July 28 after 6 years in 
Uganda and Libya.  According to Ndadaye administration 
officials, no negotiations were held or conditions set for 
Bagaza's return.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The legal system, like much of the Government administration, 
was severely disrupted as a result of the coup attempt.  When 
operating normally, it is divided into civil and criminal 
courts, with the Supreme Court at the apex.  Military courts 
have jurisdiction over crimes committed by members of the 
military or those involving actions against the military.  The 
new Constitution provides for a High Court to try the 
President, Prime Minister, or the President of the National 
Assembly in the event of high-level crime while in office.  It 
also established the Constitutional Court to review all new 
laws (including decree-laws) and to preside over other 
constitutional issues.

Trials in civilian and military courts are technically public, 
though the public has traditionally not had regular access to 
information about cases (including court dates).  The law and 
the Constitution provide for accused persons (whether tried in 
a civilian or military court) the right to a defense.  In 
practice, only a small percentage of defendants are able to 
afford legal representation, and consequently most defendants 
are not represented by counsel. 

Under the Constitution, the judicial system is independent, but 
in practice, it is dominated by the Tutsi ethnic group.  The 
President has the authority to appoint judges as well as the 
power to pardon or reduce sentences.  Most Burundians assume 
the courts still promote the interests of the dominant Tutsi 
minority.  Generally, defendants are Hutu, while the judges and 
magistrates are, almost without exception Tutsis.

Other major shortcomings in the legal system were the frequent 
lack of defense counsel for the accused; the lack of adequate 
resources to allow the system to function effectively; the need 
for better training of judicial and enforcement officials; and 
the need for revisions in the Legal Code to bring it into 
conformity with the new Constitution and international 
standards.  For example, confessions made during torture were 
accepted as evidence in 1992 trials.

There were two trials involving 133 Hutus arrested in Ngozi 
province and accused of crimes in the November 1991 violence.  
In one of the trials, the Government prosecuted 57 persons; the 
assigned defense counsel (Tutsi) failed to defend even 
minimally his Hutu clients, and the court handed down stiff 
sentences, including 5 life sentences, and 22 sentences of at 
least 15 years.

Upon President Ndadaye's assumption of office, two former 
ministers and several former government officials from the 
former Bagaza regime were released from prison provisionally in 
July.  The Government also released in July, on a "temporary" 
arrangement, former Foreign Minister Cyprien Mbonimpa, who was 
on trial before the Supreme Court.  In July the Government also 
released and dropped charges in the case of 50 military 
enlisted soldiers out of the original 150 military enlisted men 
allegedly implicated in the March 1992 coup attempt.

President Ndadaye pledged in his inaugural address to submit 
draft amnesty legislation, and the National Assembly passed an 
amnesty law on September 19.  The law provided amnesty for all 
crimes committed before July 1, 1993, with the exception of 
arson, cannibalism, murder, poisoning, drug trafficking, and 
group or armed robbery.  About 5,000 persons were reportedly 
affected or obtained release from prison as a result of the 
amnesty.  With the amnesty law, all political detainees and 
prisoners had been released.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or

The right to privacy is provided for in the Constitution, and  
the law requiring search warrants was generally respected by 
the authorities.  However, persons suspected of antigovernment 
activities, which in the past has been broadly interpreted by 
the Government and the courts, have been subject to 
surveillance by security forces.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian
         Law in Internal Conflicts

Since the assassination of President Ndadaye, there were 
massive human rights violations by all sides.  Elements of the 
Tutsi-dominated military attempted the coup and killed the 
President and several other officials.  After that, members of 
both ethnic groups killed, maimed, and burned members of the 
opposite group.  For example, over 25 Tutsi civilians were 
herded into a gas station in Kabimba and burned alive.  In 
Ruyigi, several Hutu civilians were arrested for violence and 
then handed over to a Tutsi crowd, which attacked and beat them 
to death.  About 20 other arrestees were shot by the military.  
In Gitega province, the military reportedly fired on civilians 
from helicopters.  In the ethnic upheaval, attackers burned 
homes and crops, slaughtered livestock, and vandalized schools, 
churches, and private homes.

Belgian physicians with Doctors Without Borders were among the 
first in the field, assisting those caught in the waves of 
violence.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 
reacted urgently to fly in teams of medical personnel, medical 
supplies, and relief items.  The ICRC surveyed hospitals and 
clinics in Bujumbura, Kayanza, Ngozi, and Kirundo to assess 
medical needs and begin organizing field hospital assistance.

At the end of the year, Burundi remained a society severely 
polarized along ethnic lines.  Violence and interethnic killing 
had begun to subside, but sporadic incidents continued and the 
situation remained unstable.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The new Constitution provides for free opinion and expression 
as long as these rights are expressed "in a manner consistent 
with the public law and order."

The current press law, promulgated under the Buyoya government 
in December 1992, gives the Government wide latitude in 
restricting all media.  Under the Buyoya regime, it was never 
fully enforced, and papers essentially wrote whatever they 
wanted, including articles critical of the Government.  In late 
December, the Minister of Communications used the law to 
suspend an extremist Tutsi newspaper for undermining national 
unity.  Radio and television are government-controlled, and 
some observers believe that control tightened under the FRODEBU 

The December 1992 law, designed to correct restrictions in an 
earlier law deemed unconstitutional by the Constitutional 
Court, retained restrictions on permissible criticism of 
government policies, the person of the President, and 
statements that could be construed as contrary to national 
unity or injurious to the national economy.  The law also 
provided for government review and possible censorship of all 
media prior to distribution.  In practice, private newspapers 
published without prior government review, and no cases of 
seizure were recorded.

Newspapers independent of government control demonstrated a 
willingness to report and comment on issues that the 
government-controlled press had previously been hesitant to 
cover.  This trend, begun in 1992, continued until October, as 
did the consequent willingness of the government-controlled Le 
Renouveau to open its pages to issues previously ignored, in 
particular political matters.

Newspaper readership remained limited, and the majority of the 
population relied on the government-controlled radio 
programming in French, Kirundi, and Swahili for information.  
Reporting in both radio and television reflected government 
policies, but some air time was reserved for opposition party 
activities, both prior to and following the elections.

Prior to the elections, the Government promised all political 
parties equal access to the official media and began to produce 
radio and television debates with participation by 
representatives of the various political parties.  At the same 
time, journalists and editors for the government-controlled 
media continued to practice self-censorship.  This included 
canceling programs which the Government found unacceptable and 
altering texts or footage to correspond to the Government's 

Following the June elections, the Minister of Communication 
fired the Director-General of Radio-Television Nationale du 
Burundi for failing to adhere sufficiently to the Government's 
editorial preferences.  Many observers felt that the control of 
the public media became stricter and less tolerant of diversity 
of opinion following the elections.   At the same time, the 
independent newspapers, of admittedly limited influence, 
remained outspoken and openly critical of the Government, 
without interference.

Academic freedom has not been tested because the predominantly 
Tutsi faculty was supportive of the previous government, and 
the new Government had not been in power long enough for 
conflict on academic issues to arise.  Schools closed at the 
onset of violence in October and had not reopened by year's end.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

In December 1991, the Government promulgated a decree-law 
establishing guidelines for granting permits for public 
meetings or parades.  During 1993, the newly formed political 
parties regularly held well-attended meetings in Bujumbura but 
reported facing harassment and bureaucratic obstacles when they 
applied for permits for meetings, particularly in rural areas.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

There is no state religion in Burundi.  More than 60 percent of 
the population is Catholic, and the Catholic church plays an 
important role in the lives of both rural and urban dwellers.  
A number of Protestant churches have significant followings.

Religious organizations are subject to the same rules and 
restrictions that apply to secular organizations.  They must 
obtain approval from the Government to operate in the country, 
and a Burundi citizen must be designated as the legal 
representative of each organization.  Prior to 1993, there were 
continuing incidents of temporary detentions and harassment of 
Jehovah's Witnesses who refused to comply with local and school 
officials' demands that they recognize secular authority and 
participate in state-sanctioned practices, such as singing the 
national anthem.  In 1993 Jehovah's Witnesses reported less 
harassment than in the past, and, by the end of the year, the 
group had received government approval as a religious 

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

During periods of rumored PALIPEHUTU incursions in the past, 
the Government closed land and water frontiers; generally the 
Bujumbura airport remained open in those instances.  However, 
during the first week following the October 21 coup attempt the 
airport was closed to traffic.  Internal movement was 
obstructed immediately after the coup attempt by the 
destruction of bridges and trees felled for roadblocks to 
prevent feared military attacks.  By year's end, internal roads 
had been cleared.

Repatriation of Hutu refugees was a major issue in the FRODEBU 
election campaigns since over 200,000 refugees were estimated 
to be living in Tanzania, Rwanda and Zaire.  Upon the FRODEBU 
victory, refugees began returning in record numbers, many 
without waiting to be processed through the repatriation 
system, most coming with no means of support.

The new Government's goal was to repatriate each returnee to 
his or her original property and provide a 6-month food ration 
for each, but the Government found itself unprepared for the 
volume of work and resources the program demanded.  The most 
problematical aspect was land restoration to refugees who had 
been gone for over 20 years from property that had often 
changed hands several times in good faith.  The Government's 
refugee commission authorized settlement of cases with no legal 
references or standards, depending instead on local committees 
who they said "would know to whom the land belongs."  Disputes 
arose immediately, and local committees were accused of being 
simply FRODEBU partisans with biased judgments.  In late 
September, the repatriation commission was obliged to table 
decisions until local committees could be checked and 
guidelines set for dispute settlements.

As a result of the attempted coup d'etat on October 21, nearly 
600,000 Burundians, including many recent returnees, fled to 
Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zaire.  At year's end, approximately 
170,000 internally displaced persons, mainly Tutsis, were 
estimated to be sheltered in camps within Burundi.  Several 
hundred thousand more, mostly Hutus, were dispersed, hiding in 
various locations in the countryside.

Prior to the coup attempt, Burundi hosted approximately 300,000 
refugees, mostly Rwandans, about 80,000 of whom were assisted 
by the UNHCR.  Many Rwandan refugees from a camp in northern 
Burundi joined their compatriots in and around Bujumbura to 
escape recent violence.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens
           to Change Their Government

For the first time in Burundi's history, citizens exercised 
their right to change the national Government by democratic 
means in free and fair elections in June.  Three political 
parties nominated presidential candidates, and 7 parties ran 
candidates for the National Assembly.  Following a very heated 
political campaign which brought age-old ethnic biases to the 
fore between UPRONA and FRODEBU supporters, President Melchior 
Ndadaye, a former banker, was elected and sworn into office.  
He promptly announced the appointment of Sylvie Kinigi, a Tutsi 
woman, as Prime Minister, and a 23-person Cabinet, in which 60 
percent of the members were Hutus and 40 percent Tutsis.  These 
members represented FRODEBU, UPRONA (opposition), Peoples' 
Party, and Assembly of Burundi Peoples' parties, as well as 
members of the military.  The new National Assembly was sworn 
in shortly thereafter and held its first extraordinary session 
on July 19.

The elected Government remained in office despite the 
assassination in October of President Ndadaye and the President 
and Vice President of the National Assembly.  The Assembly 
reconvened and elected a new parliamentary leadership.  Most 
ministers reported regularly to their offices though some still 
returned for safety to a guarded hotel at night.  The 
Government began replacing missing local administrators and 
began examining the constitutional options for the installation 
of an interim President.

Women are still poorly represented in the political process and 
in government, including in the legislature and the judiciary.  
In addition to Prime Minister Kinigi, the Minister of Social 
Action, Human Rights, and Protection of Women, is also a woman.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Under the Buyoya government, the two independent human rights 
groups (ITEKA and SONERA) faced bureaucratic obstacles, such as 
inordinate delays by Ministry of Justice officials in 
responding to requests for information on specific cases or for 
permission to visit prisons, but they were not actively impeded 
from carrying out their activities.  These activities included 
investigations and reports on individual human rights cases and 
civic education programs.  The two organizations undertook a 
joint investigation of the violence of November 1991.

The outgoing Buyoya government and the new Ndadaye Government 
welcomed contact with international human rights 
organizations.  The African American Institute organized an 
international civilian/military conference in February to 
discuss a broad range of topics concerning the military's role 
in democracy.  The ICRC continued to visit prisons and 
hospitals throughout the year and played a major role in 
assisting the wounded in the violence after Ndadaye's 
assassination in October.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion,
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The new Constitution explicitly provides equal status and 
protection for all citizens, without distinction based on sex, 
origin, ethnicity, religion, or opinion.  In practice, de facto 
discrimination against women, Hutus, Batwa or Twa (Pygmies) was 
apparent throughout society and institutions despite government 
efforts to discourage it.


Women hold a secondary place in society and face both legal and 
societal discrimination.  For example, the explicitly 
discriminatory elements of inheritance laws and those relating 
to obtaining financial credit remained unchanged.  Although 
assured of the same pay as men if they held the same job, women 
were far less likely than men to hold mid- or high-level 
positions in either the public or private sectors.  President 
Ndadaye appointed some women to high government positions; he 
brought two women officer candidates into military cadet ranks. 

Nevertheless, conditions for women did not undergo appreciable 
change.  In particular, the traditional distinction between 
male and female roles in Burundi remained institutionalized in 
rural areas, where women are responsible for hard labor in most 
food-crop production.  In rural areas, females also had little 
opportunity for education.  Overall, females get only one-third 
of the schooling of males.

Violence against women occurs, including wife beating and rape, 
but there is no documentation of its extent.  Police do not 
normally intervene in domestic disputes, and the press does not 
cover incidents of violence against women, including rape.  
There were no known court cases dealing with abuse of women.


The Government has not expressed a particular commitment to 
children's human rights as distinct from those of all other 
citizens.  During the October violence, children were victims 
of the violence along with adults of both ethnic groups.  At 
year's end, the number of orphans created by the violence had 
not been determined, and the Government had not yet formulated 
a response to this problem.

     Indigenous People

The indigenous Twa (Pygmy) minority, which comprises perhaps 1 
percent of the population, remained almost completely 
marginalized, economically, socially, and politically.  While 
the former Buyoya government stated its commitment to serve all 
Burundians, most Twa continued to live in isolation, without 
attending school or having access to government services, 
including health care.  There were no known efforts by the 
former Government or other political parties to discriminate 
against Twa in the elections.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Burundi's fundamental problem is the ethnic conflict between 
majority Hutus, who gained political power only with the 
election of Ndadaye in June, and minority Tutsis, who have 
historically held power and still control the military and 
dominate educated society.  In practice, de facto ethnic 
discrimination against Hutus--85 percent of the 
population--colors every facet of society and institutions, 
including the military and the judicial establishment, despite 
constitutional provisions and some policies introduced under 
the Buyoya military administration to attract Hutus into the 
professions.  These late efforts had not had a significant 
impact, but Hutus, under Buyoya, had made inroads into the 
civil service, and by 1993 the number of Hutus exceeded the 
number of Tutsis entering secondary school.

The Ndadaye administration upon assuming office began a more 
concerted effort to put its FRODEBU faithful into the 
government bureaucracy.  Those policy changes led quickly to 
increased tensions between long-term Tutsi professionals 
(civilian and military) and the new FRODEBU Government.

     People with Disabilities

Burundi's rudimentary economy effectively excludes the 
physically disabled from many types of employment.  Some 
sheltered craft workshops exist in Bujumbura but the most 
frequent occupation for the physically disabled is street and 
market vending or begging.  The Government has not enacted 
legislation or otherwise mandated provision of accessibilty for 
the disabled.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Government promulgated a revision of the Labor Code in 
July.  Both the Constitution and the revised Labor Code protect 
the rights of workers to form unions.  However, only about 
15,000 workers in the wage economy (about 20 percent) 
participate in the new system of voluntary checkoffs put into 
place to help finance union activities.  Most workers are from 
the ranks of urban civil servants.  The military, the 
gendarmerie, and certain expatriates working in the public 
sector are prohibited from forming or joining unions.

The national umbrella trade union organization, the 
Organization of Free Unions of Burundi (CSB), is financially 
dependent on this same system of voluntary checkoffs.  CSB 
represented labor in drafting negotiations for the new Labor 
Code revisions and has also participated in specific collective 
bargaining negotiations in cooperation with individual labor 
unions.  The CSB includes all labor unions except the teachers 
union and is the only existing labor federation.  The Labor 
Code permits the formation of additional unions or union 
confederations outside the CSB.

The Labor Code also provides workers the right to strike.  The 
revised Labor Code affirms, but does not greatly alter, the 
right of workers to form unions and to strike.  Restrictions on 
the right to strike and lockout are:  1) the action must be 
taken only after exhausting all other peaceful means of 
resolution, 2) negotiations must continue during the action, 
mediated by a mutually agreeable party or by the Government, 
and 3) 6 days' notice must be given.  Retribution against 
workers participating in a legal strike is prohibited.

One strike occurred in the first half of October at the 
National Data Processing Center, where workers who chose to 
leave the organization upon privatization did not receive the 
required indemnity payment.  At year's end, the strike was 
still in effect, and negotiations still in progress.

CSB maintains international affiliations with the Organization 
of Central African Workers, the Organization of African (Labor) 
Unions, the International Confederation of Trade Unions, and 
the World Confederation of Labor.  CSB has also sponsored 
seminars and training programs with the African-American Labor 

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The 1993 Labor Code revision recognizes the right to collective 
bargaining which had formerly been acknowledged only by 
ordinance.  Since most workers are civil servants, government 
entities are involved in almost every phase of labor 
negotiations.  Public sector wages are set in fixed scales in 
individual work contracts and are not affected by collective 
bargaining.  In the private sector, wage scales also exist but 
individual contract negotiation is possible.  In principle, 
private sector wage scales can also be influenced by collective 
bargaining, though this is infrequent.

The Labor Code also gives the Labor Court jurisdiction over all 
labor dispute cases, including those involving public 
employees.  Labor negotiations are still conducted largely 
between unions and employers under the supervision of the 
tripartite National Labor Council, the Government's highest 
consultative authority on labor issues.  The Council represents 
government, labor, and management and is presided over and 
regulated by the Minister of Labor.

The 1993 Labor Code revision prohibits employers from firing or 
otherwise discriminating against a worker because of union 
affiliation or activity.  A three-step process was available to 
resolve complaints regarding labor practices or policies toward 
a union or union member:  Direct employer-employee negotiations 
under the auspices of the CSB; an administrative hearing before 
a government labor inspector; and a legal proceeding before the 
Labor Court.

There are no export processing zones, though a decree-law 
making the entire nation a free zone for many nontraditional, 
export-oriented activities was promulgated on August 31, l992.  
The decree-law requires, inter alia, that wages meet the 
minimum interprofessional standards fixed by law but allows 
employers more latitude in negotiations with employees.  The 
law also makes it easier for qualifying enterprises to hire 
foreign workers.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced and compulsory labor are prohibited by law and not 
practiced.  The Committee of Experts of the International Labor 
Organization (ILO) noted the repeal of some decrees and orders 
which were inconsistent with the commitment to abolish forced 
labor but reiterated its concern about other decrees or orders 
requiring obligatory community development and not excluding 
political prisoners from prison labor.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The current Labor Code states that children under the age of 16 
are not allowed to be employed by "an enterprise," even as 
apprentices, though it also states that they may undertake 
occasional work which does not damage their health or 
schooling.  Young children are, in fact, often seen doing heavy 
manual labor, including transporting bricks on their heads, in 
rural areas in daytime during the school year.  Children are 
legally forbidden from working at night, though many did so in 
the informal sector.  As a practical matter, children are 
obligated by custom and economic necessity to help support 
their family by participating in activities related to 
subsistence agriculture in family-based enterprises and the 
informal sector.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The nationally established formal minimum wage for unskilled 
workers is $0.54 (140 Burundi francs) per day in Bujumbura and 
Gitega and $0.34 (88 Burundi francs) in the rest of the 
country, with a graduated scale for increased skill levels.  
This amount does not meet the daily needs for a family.  
Employees working under contract, particularly in urban areas, 
generally earn significantly more than the minimum wage.  All 
employees in the public sector work under contract, while the 
CSB estimates that 70 percent of employees working in the 
formal private sector are covered by a contract.

The Labor Code revision calls for maternity and health costs to 
be taken over by social security, once it is established, 
rather than to be borne by employees.  Most families live 
outside urban areas and are involved in subsistence 
agricultural production which allows them to supplement their 
income with homegrown foodstuffs.  Many urban households rely 
on more than one wage earner or supplement earnings by 
participation in petty commerce.

The Labor Code imposes a maximum 8-hour workday and 45-hour 
workweek except in cases when workers are involved in 
activities related to national security.  Supplements must be 
paid for overtime in any case.

The Labor Code establishes health and safety standards 
requiring an employer to provide a safe workplace and assigns 
enforcement responsibility to the Ministry of Labor.  However, 
enforcement suffers from a shortage of staff and resources.  
Health and safety articles in the Labor Code do not directly 
address the workers' right to remove themselves from a 
dangerous work situation. (###)

[end of document]


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