2010 Human Rights Report
Burundi is a constitutional republic with an elected government and a population of 8.6 million. From May to September, the country held elections for all public offices, including the first direct presidential elections since 1993. Following the May 25 Communal Council elections, which the international community characterized as generally free and fair, a coalition of 12 opposition parties alleged massive fraud and called for the annulment of the results and new elections. When the parties' demands were not met, they withdrew their candidates from the subsequent presidential, legislative, and "colline" elections. President Pierre Nkurunziza, of the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party, ran unopposed in the June presidential election and was reelected to a second term. International observers characterized the elections as generally free and fair, although there were reports of political violence leading up to and throughout the five-month election season.
Security forces reported to civilian authorities. There were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of civilian control.
Human rights abuses during the year included security force killings, torture, and mistreatment of civilians and detainees; official impunity; societal killings and vigilante justice; harsh, life-threatening prison and detention center conditions; prolonged pretrial detention and arbitrary arrest and detention; detention and imprisonment of political prisoners and political detainees; lack of judicial independence and efficiency; official corruption; restrictions on privacy and freedom of speech, assembly, and association; sexual violence and discrimination against women and children; discrimination against gays and lesbians and persons with albinism; and restrictions on labor rights.