AFRICA, BURUNDI – suspension of NGOs throws health and education delivery into chaos; care and social services are also hit

A governing-party rally in Bugendana, Burundi, ahead of the upcoming constitutional referendum. Campaigning has been marred by hate speech.CreditCreditAssociated Press
|AIWA! NO!|BURUNDI PRESIDENT Pierre Nkurunziza’s adminstration suspended and/or cancelled licenses of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOS) with immediate effect; accusing these semi-civic omnibus of meddling with local politics and culture.
The suspension of NGOs and development agencies  including expatriate missions and their staff upends the delivery of a robust health, economic and social services;

Pierre Nkurunziza. Pierre Nkurunzizahas been President of Burundi since 2005.Burundi’s suspension of almost all international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the country is a deeply repressive measure that will severely impact some of the most vulnerable people in the country, Amnesty International said as the suspension announced last week came into effect.

Burundi, officially the Republic of Burundi, is a landlocked country in the African Great Lakes region of East Africa, bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. It is also considered part of Central Africa. Burundi’s capital is Bujumbura.

The City of Angels Drummers from Maison Shalom
The City of Angels Drummers from Maison Shalom

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Burundi was worth 3.48 billion US dollars in 2017. The GDP value of Burundi represents 0.01 percent of the world economy. GDP in Burundi averaged1.04 USD Billion from 1960 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 3.48 USD Billion in 2017 and a record low of 0.16 USD Billion in 1965.Burundi GDP

The GDP per Capita in Burundi is equivalent to 2 percent of the world’s average. GDP per capita in Burundi averaged 255.24 USD from 1960 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 337.71 USDin 1991 and a record low of 181.22 USD in 1961.

Burundi’s Minister of Interior today confirmed in a meeting with NGO representatives that only organizations running hospitals and schools would be exempt from the suspension.

The suspension of almost all international NGOs in Burundi is a sweeping and arbitrary decision that will cause unnecessary suffering among the population that relies on the vital services these organizations and their local partner NGOs provide
Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

“The suspension of almost all international NGOs in Burundi is a sweeping and arbitrary decision that will cause unnecessary suffering among the population that relies on the vital services these organizations and their local partner NGOs provide,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The measures announced are vague and amount to heavy-handed state interference into the internal affairs of non-governmental organizations. This repressive measure follows increasing restrictions on civil society space and should be reversed immediately.”

The measures announced are vague and amount to heavy-handed state interference into the internal affairs of non-governmental organizations.
Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

Burundi’s National Security Council announced the three-month suspension on 27 September. The move follows a new law governing foreign NGOs that came into force in January 2017.

At today’s meeting, Burundi’s Minister of Interior said international NGOs had up to three months to present four documents or be deregistered altogether.

The four documents are a cooperation agreement signed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; a memorandum on the implementation of the law on foreign NGOs and the national development plan; an agreement with the Ministry of Finance that they will respect banking regulations; and a plan to progressively eliminate ethnic inequalities in the staffing of their organizations within three years.

Meanwhile, all NGOs working in the health sector have been ordered to present their partnership agreements to the Ministry of Health and attend a meeting on 15 October or be deregistered.

The directive and the way it has been communicated has caused much confusion and uncertainty.

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