On April 25 2015, Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would be running for a third consecutive term, despite it being a violation of Burundi’s constitution. Following that announcement, opposition parties held demonstrations calling for the President to recall his bid for presidency. In response to these protests, the government deployed security forces, which resulted in violent clashes with citizens. In an attempt to prevent further protests, the police shut down many human rights organizations, imprisoned those who were suspected of slandering government officials, and closed down many media outlets who promoted free speech. The violence that ensued was attributed to government actors and supporters threatening and perpetrating violations against protesters.
In July 2015, Nkurunziza was officially sworn in for his third term as president, amid ongoing violence. The election was heavily condemned for not being free and fair. Clashes between civilians and police have continued, as well as mass arrests and home-investigations.
More than 250 people have been killed since protests began in April, at least 700 politically motivated arrests have taken place, and over 192,000 refugees. Since then, Burundi has continued to experience worrisome levels of attacks and high level assassinations.
The Burundi Conflict Mapping Initiative is comprised of a small coalition of Burundian civil society members, working professionals operating in Burundi, and digital volunteers, led by PeaceGeeks. The Mapping Initiative’s mission is to promote good governance and integrated development through research, community capacity building, networking and advocacy at both national and local levels. The Mapping Initiative’s action aims to build gender equality and community recovery for the active, non-violent and lasting development of Burundi. The Mapping Initiative’s work takes place against a backdrop of poor governance and corruption; high unemployment; a lack of political will and where sexual and gender based violence is prevalent. An influential presence in politics, Fontaine-Isoko has been involved in supporting and nurturing the involvement of women and youth in politics.
PeaceGeeks and several Burundian civil society organizations responded to the crisis before the elections by launching the Burundi 2015 Conflict Map. The purpose of this map was to bridge the information gap created by violence and the limiting of media and political space in Burundi since the third term mandate announcement. This map collected reports of protests, arrests, kidnappings, property damage, injuries, deaths, and other information related to the political crisis and aims to provide a global understanding of the situation for present and future decision-making.
- Renee Black, Executive Director and Founder
- Olivia Russell, Project Lead
- Andrew Burrows-Johnson, Lead Mapper
- Frederico Cunha, Lead Mapper
- Shannon Cox, Mapper
- Sarah Beley, Mapper
- Ina Holland, Mapper
- Dylan S. Waisman, Situation Report Writer
Owing to the personal security of participants, we are unable to share personal information on the Burundian project members.