Pierre Claver Mbonimpa – Burundi

Linked with Association for the protection of human rights and detained persons A.PRO.DH.

A former policeman in Burundi until he spent two years in prison because of false accusations, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa founded the Burundian Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH). He has campaigned against torture, addressed the plight of the 9,000 detainees waiting years for trial in the country’s overcrowded jails, and organized events where police and military representatives have had to face questions from human rights activists and victims. Hailed as one of the few who stands up for the rights of Hutu, Tutsi and Batwa, he is regularly threatened by the government. Mbonimpa recently exposed the mistreatment of detainees in holding cells in rural Burundi. He says: “At the provincial capitals, where human rights organizations and the United Nations conduct monitoring visits regularly, there are fewer cases, but in the lock-ups in the interior of the country, further from these areas, there are many more cases”. (More on every human has rights.org).

… Upon his release, he founded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help protect the rights of prisoners, including the 9,000 prisoners that have been waiting for trial for years in the country’s overcrowded jails. He has campaigned fearlessly against torture, and organized events where police and military representatives have had to face public questions from human rights activists and victims. When civil society members and journalists were arrested recently, he again spoke out despite the risks. In a fragile country, where civil war has claimed thousands of lives, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa is often hailed as the only person who stands up for the rights of Hutu, Tutsi and Batwa. He is outspoken about human rights violations, even in the public media … (full text, 04/05/2007).

Human Rights Defenders from Sri Lanka and Burundi share 2007 Martin Ennals Award, 4 May 2007.

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Pierre Claver Mbonimpa – Burundi

… According to the President of Association for Promotion of human and Prisoner Rights (APRODH), Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, only the International Criminal Court (ICC) was an appropriate body to try the case. Mbonimpa said that he was disappointed the way in which the case proceeded. “The national courts are unable to try the case, it is necessary to transfer it to ICC…we request its intervention”, he said … (full text, 3 June 2008).

… Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, head of the Association Pour la Protection des Droits Humains, a rights group, also challenged the numbers, saying it expected the “release not of 247 but 452 prisoners”, referring to its own investigations in prisons … (full text).

… “Colonel Vital Bangirinama, who supervised the massacre, has been condemned to death,” said Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a local rights defender. Another senior officer and two ranking soldiers were sentenced to life imprisonment, with seven more troops handed 10-year jail terms for taking part and another five given two years behind bars for failing to act, he added … (full text, Oct 23, 2008).

… Numerous expulsees have spoken out on local radio to accuse police of brutal and summary methods, rounding them up and tearing up their Burundian identity cards, and rights organisations have taken up their cause. The chairman of the Association for the Protection of Detained Persons and Human Rights, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, condemned what he called a “degrading hunt for foreigners” in police raids … (full text).

Find him and his publications on OMCT; on HuriSearch for any language, and on english HuriSearch; on EMM NewsExplorer; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Blog-search.

… Meanwhile, 37 founding members of Movement for Security and Democracy who were arrested along his side, had been freed since Saturday, a human rights activist confirmed. “Some were not even questioned and the police commander told me that he received orders from above to free them,” said Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, head of Association for defence of detained persons and human rights. Mr Sinduhije is one of several opposition and civil society figures in the central Mpimba prison. European Union on Monday condemned his arrest and warned central African country that such action violated terms of the bloc’s aid to Bujumbura … (full text).

High Commissioner for Human Rights Visits Burundi Louise Arbour (second from right, at table), United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Pierre- Claver Mbonimpa (right), founder and president of the Burundian Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH;) and Martin Ennals (left), 2007 Award laureate, are participating in a meeting with victims of violence at the APRODH office, in Burundi … (full text, 22 May 2007).

… Les auteurs du massacre de Muyinga ne devraient pas être protégés par des manœuvres visant à retarder le processus, a déclaré Alison Des Forges (1942 – 2009), conseillère principale à la Division Afrique de Human Rights Watch. Nous craignons que d’autres autorités civiles et militaires aient empêché les autorités judiciaires de donner suite aux preuves dignes de foi réunies contre des officiers de haut rang … // … Et un des leaders en droits de l’homme, Pierre Claver MBONIMPA, un de ces Burundais qui ont dénoncé cette barbarie humaine, il vient de recevoir le Prix Martin ENNALS 2007 ce 1er Octobre 2007 … (full text Justice à la Burundaise, après le massacre de Muyinga, 02/10/07).

Des dirigeants sans principes ont délibérément manipulé les inquiétudes pour susciter des divisions, réprimer l’opposition et éviter d’avoir à rendre des comptes. Tant que les gouvernements ne prêteront pas attention aux rancœurs exploitées par des groupes armés, tant qu’ils ne manifesteront pas la volonté nécessaire pour obliger réellement ces groupes à rendre compte des violences qu’ils ont commises et qu’ils ne seront pas eux-mêmes prêts à rendre des comptes, l’avenir des droits humains s’annoncera sombre. Dans de nombreux pays, un programme politique basé sur la peur renforce les discriminations, élargit le fossé entre les possédants et les démunis, entre “eux” et “nous”, et laisse sans aucune protection les personnes les plus touchées par la marginalisation … (full text LA POLITIQUE DE PEUR A DOMINÉ).

Out of Google News-search:

  • Burundi expels 800 immigrants, 19/02/2009: … The chair of the Association for the Protection of Detained Persons and Human Rights, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, condemned what he called a “degrading hunt for foreigners” in police raids. Mbonimpa said that the victims were rounded up in a stadium, then shoved on to lorries to be taken to the nearest border, apparently for political reasons rather than alleged criminal activity. The identity cards of dozens of people being destroyed in the process had been issued before post-civil war elections in 2005, “and people say the police want to prevent them from voting in 2010 because they support the opposition”, Mbonimpa said. (full text).
  • Burundi: de 800 à 1.400 étrangers expulsés, surtout congolais et rwandais, Feb 19, 2009: … Le président de l’Association pour la protection des personnes détenues et des droits humains (Aprodeh), Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a condamné “cette chasse aux étrangers car ils sont traités de manière dégradante”. Ils “sont arrêtés pendant les rafles de la police, rassemblés dans un stade, avant d’être embarqués dans un camion en direction de la plus proche frontière”, a-t-il dénoncé. Des dizaines de personnes expulsées, qui possédaient des cartes d’identité burundaises, ont accusé la police sur des radios locales privées d’avoir déchirée ces documents sur ordre du pouvoir. (full text).
  • Expulsos entre 800 à 1.400 estrangeiros em um mês, 19-02-2009: … O presidente da Associação para a protecção das pessoas detidas e dos direitos humanos (Aprodeh), Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, condenou “esta caça aos estrangeiros porque eles são tratados de maneira degradante”. Eles “são detidos durante as razias da polícia, reunidos num estádio, antes de serem embarcados num camião em direcção à fronteira mais próxima”, denunciou. Dezenas de pessoas expulsas, que possuiam bilhete de identidade burundês, acusaram a polícia nas rádios locais privadas de ter rasgado estes documentos sobre a ordem do poder. (full text).

links:

Burundi detainees allege torture, 4 August 2006;

Amnesty International – report 2008 in english (also in french, espanol, portugues, russia, arabic … and also by countries: … see Burundi);

Burundi: Integrity Indicators Scorecard 2007;

Burundi: HRW world report 2008;

le blog Grandslacs;

the french video: Violence faite aux femmes au Burundi, 2.19 min, Dec 18, 2008;

Realizing Rights, the ethical globalization initiative;

Protectionline;

OneWorld.net, and its OneWorld Burundi guide;

the PRIX MARTIN ENNALS 2007 on UNspecial;

Human rights defenders are increasingly using computers and the Internet in their work. Although access to technology is still a huge issue around the world, electronic means of storing and communicating information are getting more and more common in human rights organisations. However, Governments are also developing the capacity to manipulate, monitor and subvert electronic information. Surveillance and censorship is growing and the insecurity of digitally stored or communicated information is becoming a major problem for human rights defenders in some countries … (full text Digital Security and Privacy for Human Rights Defenders- see also their Homepage).

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