NEW YORK – The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) condemns the assassination attempt against prominent human rights defender Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, and calls on the government of Burundi to thoroughly investigate, prosecute, and punish the perpetrator. Mr. Mbonimpa, who is president of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH), was shot in the afternoon of August 3, 2015, in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. The attempt occurred nine months after Mr. Mbonimpa was conditionally released from prison where he had been arbitrarily held for nearly five months on vague grounds, which included the crime of “disturbing the peace.” Mr. Mbonimpa spoke at HRF’s Oslo Freedom Forum in 2010 on the need to reform Burundi's justice system.
“Because of the Burundian government’s dismal track record of repressing human rights defenders, the attempt against Mr. Mbonimpa’s life immediately raises questions about state involvement. The government is now compelled to answer those questions in a quick and transparent manner,” said HRF president Thor Halvorssen. “The burden is entirely on Burundi’s authoritarian government to demonstrate, before the international community and the Burundian people, that it was not involved in this attempt. Additionally, the government should immediately take measures to ensure Mr. Mbonimpa’s safety as the investigation unfolds,” Halvorssen concluded.
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.