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Burundi suspends foreign NGOs for violation of new law

Burundi has suspended some foreign non-governmental organisations for three months for violating a new law.

The National Security Council secretary Maj Gen Silas Ntigurirwa said on Thursday that during the period of the ban, which takes effect from October 1, the government will be verifying “the conformity of the NGOs with the law”.

He did not however name the affected organisations or the violations but said they would only resume operations on condition that they comply.

There are 130 foreign NGOs in Burundi, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Burundi has had tense relations with some civil society organisations since 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza, who chairs the National Security Council, said he would seek a controversial third term. He was re-elected in the subsequent vote amid protests and crackdown.

A referendum in May this year approved changes to the constitution that allow Mr Nkurunziza to stay in power until 2034. He has however said he would not seek another term.

Jean Claude Karerwa, the presidential spokesman, said on local radio on Friday that some NGOs were promoting “same sex marriages, and this is against our culture”.

Earlier this month, the Burundi Senate gave a six-month ultimatum to NGOs to ensure that they comply with the law that requires them to hire local staff at 60 per cent Hutu and 30 per cent Tutsi. The law also requires that 30 per cent of the employees be women.

Article 148 of the constitution states that Burundi’s “employment practices are based on objective and equitable fitness criteria as well as the need to correct imbalances and ensure broad ethnic, regional and gender representation.”

The Home Affairs minister Pascal Barandagiye is expected to meet with the representatives of the NGOs on Monday October 1.

The Eastafrican

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