Case History: Ferdinand Manirerekana
On 2 February 2016, human rights defender Mr Ferdinand Manirerekana received death threats via text messages to his mobile phones. The threats were related to his human rights work and his activities with the Burundi Solidarity Group.
Ferdinand Manirerekana is a member of the Burundi Solidarity Group, a group that has been documenting and denouncing human rights violations in Burundi. He contributes to the work of the Group through advocating against ongoing extra judicial killings in Burundi and engaging in on-line campaigns through Facebook and Twitter.
On 2 February 2016, human rights defenders Messrs David Calleb Otieno, Wilfred Olal and Ferdinand Manirerekana received death threats via text messages to their mobile phones.
David Calleb Otieno received the threatening message at 5:06 pm on 2 February 2016. It read “You have exposed our masters to death we are ready to kill you. We know where you live you think you know Burundi better than us”. The human rights defender reported the threat to the Central Police Station in Nairobi on the same day.
The human rights defender was later informed that two of his colleagues of the Burundi Solidarity Group, Wilfred Olal and Ferdinand Manirerekana, had received similar messages around the same time. Due to the contents of the messages it is believed that the threats are directly linked to the human rights defenders' work on the human rights situation in Burundi.
The Burundi Solidarity Group has been calling for the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) to take action on the situation in Burundi based on reports of gross human rights violations being committed in the country. These have been carried out in the context of the political crisis and increased violence since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term in defiance of the country's constitution. Among the human rights violations denounced by the group are enforced disappearances, violent attacks on peaceful demonstrators and reprisals against human rights defenders opposing Pierre Nkurunziza's attempt to cling to power. The group have also expressed concern for the increasing number of political prisoners in the country.