Human Rights

Burundi’s government has been repeatedly criticized by human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch for the multiple arrests and trials of journalist Jean-Claude Kavumbagu for issues related to his reporting. Amnesty International (AI) named him a prisoner of conscience and called for his “immediate and unconditional release.”

In April 2009, the government of Burundi changed the law to criminalize homosexuality. Persons found guilty of consensual same-sex relations risk two to three years in prison and a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 Burundian francs. Amnesty International has condemned the action, calling it a violation of Burundi’s obligations under international and regional human rights law, and against the constitution, which guarantees the right to privacy.

Burundi officially left the International Criminal Court (ICC) on October 27, 2017, the first country in the world to do so. The move came after the UN accused the country of various crimes and human rights violations, such as extrajudicial killings, torture and sexual violence, in a September 2017 report. The ICC announced on November 9, 2017 that human rights violations from the time Burundi was a member would still be prosecuted.


Burundi is divided into 18 provinces, 117 communes, and 2,638 collines (hills). Provincial governments are structured upon these boundaries. In 2000, the province encompassing Bujumbura was separated into two provinces, Bujumbura Rural and Bujumbura Mairie. The newest province, Rumonge, was created on 26 March 2015 from portions of Bujumbura Rural and Bururi.