Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, A/HRC/31/55/Add.2, 30 December 2015: Burundi
II. Legal framework for the promotion and protection of human rights
C. National level
4. Freedom of association
30. Freedom of association is guaranteed by article 32 of the Constitution. Associations are governed by Decree-Act No. 1/11 of 18 April 1992 on the organization of non-profit-making associations. The Decree-Act contains a number of provisions that are detrimental to the development of associations. These are primarily a lack of clarity concerning the registration process, which at times leads to abuse, since the registration of an association remains at the discretion of the administrative authorities. No remedy is provided for in the event that registration is denied. The text indicates that the competent authorities may deny registration for non-compliance with the conditions stipulated in articles 4 and 5 or when the object of the association is contrary to the law, public order or morality (art. 6). As a result, some associations working on sensitive topics, such as gender identity, may be denied registration for no official reason. Furthermore, there is no fixed deadline for registration by the administrative authorities.
IV. General situation of human rights defenders
A. General situation of human rights defenders and journalists
51. In the course of his visit, the Special Rapporteur met defenders engaged in promoting and defending civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. He observed that, because of their legitimate work undertaken for the promotion and protection of human rights, certain categories of defenders are particularly vulnerable, including journalists, lawyers, defenders working on political and economic issues, as well as women defenders and defenders working on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons.
56. The Special Rapporteur was disappointed to be informed that defenders working on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons face double discrimination on account of their status and a lack of recognition by civil society. He was told about the verbal and telephone threats, cases of extortion and other types of incidents that they face. Often no action is taken when defenders report these violations to the police, since they are systematically required to state their sexual identity. Furthermore, the defenders of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons continue to be stigmatized by their pairs and to be excluded from civil society. This also applies to the Independent National Human Rights Commission, whose human rights defenders claim that it is not open to all members of civil society.
V. Shrinking space for human rights defenders
C. Violations relating to freedom of association
90. Another issue of concern in terms of freedom of association is the rights of associations working on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. No authorized associations are known to be working specifically in this area.
Link to full text of the report: Report-SRHRD-Burundi-2015-eng