Closure of our offices in Burundi


Like all international NGOs in Burundi, Avocats Sans Frontières had its activities in the country suspended by the National Security Council on 1 October this year, due to failure to comply with the law on foreign non-governmental organisations (FNGO) adopted in January 2017. The Burundian Minister of the Interior will only lift the suspension on condition that an application, made up of four documents, is submitted and approved before 31 December this year. Specifically, these consist of a partnership agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a draft agreement with the Ministry of Justice, a commitment to respecting banking regulations and the law on FNGOs, and a plan of action for implementing recruitment measures to ensure that the ethnic composition of our staff meets defined quotas. After serious consideration, we believe that complying with some of the authorities’ demands would go against the founding principles of ASF and its values. We will, therefore, be unable to have our suspension lifted. With the deepest regret, after twenty uninterrupted years in Burundi, we must therefore close our offices in Bujumbura and leave the country on 31 December 2018. We remain committed to working towards access to justice for the Burundian people, and we hope we can contribute to it again in the future. We are extremely grateful to all the people, associations, and institutions that have supported our activities in Burundi since 1999, and we wish them the best of luck for the future. Please contact us for any further information on this subject.
Picture © ASF/Monica Rispo