Burundi Weekly Humanitarian News, 03 - 09 Nov 2008

Situation Report
Originally published


Activities ans Updates

Contingency Planning workshop

OCHA organised a two-day workshop on 5th and 6th November 2008 to review the interagency contingency planning for Burundi. More than 50 participants were present on the first day, including most key ministerial focal points of the National Disaster Management Platform, the Red Cross, ECHO and most key NGOs. UNICEF and WFP regional advisors for emergency preparedness were also present. The main objective of the workshop was to reach a common understanding on the main scenarios and their impact. Input from OCHA DRC was outstanding and unanimously appreciated. Similarly feedback and input from OCHA colleagues from HCR and UNICEF Rwanda were critical in having a broad understanding of the main threats and risks. Four scenarios are currently being considered: (a) Influx of populations from DRC into Burundi, (b) internal population displacements, (c) Epidemics and (d) Natural disasters. In the context of soaring food prices coupled with the current export bans in the region, WFP is closely monitoring the situation to be prepared in the case of a sudden influx of refugees from eastern DRC. The WFP Contingency plan is being updated in line with the scenarios discussed in the meeting. In the event of a refugee crisis, WFP might have to reprioritize programme activities to ensure that the refugee operation is fully maintained.

Update on food aid distribution

WFP distributed 695 tons of food assistance to a total of 149,796 beneficiaries. The most important quantities of food (69%) was supplied to persons affected by insufficient harvests in Muyinga, Karuzi and Kirundo provinces

Human rights

The HR&JD continued to receive information about restrictions of the free exercise of civil and political rights in Burundi. HR&JOs closely monitored the detention since 3 November of Mr. Alexis Sinduhije, President of the non-registered Mouvement pour la Sécurité et la Démocratie (MSD) along with 37 members. On 5 November, international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) denounced Mr. Sinduhije's arrest and underlined growing obstacles to the free exercise of civil and political rights. Between 5 and 10 November, all the detainees except Mr. Sinduhije were released as no charged were pressed against them. Meanwhile Mr Sinduhije remained in custody pending his hearing by the prosecutor. The HR&JD is particularly concerned by this growing wave of intimidations, arrests and detentions of political opponents, which are likely to increase the run-up to the 2010 elections. HR&JOs will continue to follow-up on these cases. In addition, a public hearing was held before the anti-corruption court in the case of Mr. Juvénal Rududura, vice-chair of the non-judicial staff union. A motion for provisional release brought by his lawyers is under deliberation. Mr. Rududura was arrested on 15 September, on accusations of levelling unfounded corruption accusations against the Ministry of Justice. Another public hearing was held in the case of two UPD-Zigamibanga members, before the Kayanza TGI. They were both arrested in Kayanza on 22 September, on accusation of contempt to the Head of State. The TGI adjourned for deliberation.

The HR&JD also conducted several promotion activities this week. Within the framework of the integrated strategy to fight sexual violence against women and children, an awareness raising sessions was held in Gitega for 25 schools and in Bujumbura and Cibitoke provinces for 103 participants. A session on judicial proceedings for fifty participants, including six women, was also held in Shombo commune, Karusi province. Meanwhile from 3 to7 November in Gitega, the HR&JD in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court conducted training for 37 registrars and assistant registrars of the TGI, in the framework of the PBF project on the capacity building of magistrates and judicial personnel.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.