Aloys Habimana, Protection Coordinator Front Line Defenders, released

DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) welcomes the release of human rights defender Aloys Habimana, Protection Coordinator for East and Southern Africa at Front Line Defenders. On 17 February 2018, Mr Habimana and another individual were arrested at the border between Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo for unspecified reasons. They were detained for two days by the Sevice National de Renseignements (SNR) in Bujumbura, Burundi.

According to Front Line Defenders, Mr Habimana was denied access to visitors and a lawyer during his detention, contrary to international human rights standards that require such access once an individual is arrested or detained. Burundi’s Constitution, and regional and international human rights standards prohibit arbitrary arrest and decree the right to liberty and security of the person. No person should be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds as prescribed by the law.

In addition, the treaty establishing the East African Community allows free movement within the region for citizens of its member states. The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights also recognises the right to freedom of movement, provided it is exercised within the law. As a signatory to the aforementioned regional and international human rights instruments, Burundi is obliged to respect fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to liberty and security of the person, and the right to freedom of movement.

“It is a relief to learn of the release of Aloys Habimana who, as an East African citizen, should not have been arrested in the first place,” said Hassan Shire, Executive Director of DefendDefenders. “I have known Mr Habimana since 1998 when we met at the Amnesty International – All African Human Rights Defenders Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. Human rights defenders like him work to ensure that others can enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms. If they are harassed, the people without a voice suffer the repercussions.”

DefendDefenders urges Burundian authorities to recognise the important work of human rights defenders and refrain from harassing them. They should be allowed to continue their legitimate activities in an environment free from fear and intimidation.


Updates from October 2021

The final quarter of the year is one of the busiest periods at DefendDefenders. This is also heightened by the deteriorating situation in Sudan and Ethiopia that continues to destabilize an already delicate region.

Public statement to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on closing civic space

As the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights holds its 69th ordinary session, DefendDefenders and the South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network (SSHRDN), call on the government of the Republic of South Sudan to respect the rights of its citizens to peacefully assemble, associate, and express opinions and views, strengthen the legal framework that allows citizens and civil society organizations to form and operate without any hinderances.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email