On October 2, the Burundian government, in compliance with a decision by the National Security Council, ordered the three-month suspension of operations by the majority of international NGOs in the country. The official aim of the move is to force NGOs to comply with a law passed in January 2017 that imposes an ethnic quota for NGO workers - 60 percent Hutu and 40 percent Tutsi - along with financial regulations. Only four out of the 130 NGOs present in the country have so far complied with the new measure. The suspension, which will render humanitarian efforts increasingly difficult, might extend beyond the three-month period if the NGOs continue to not comply with the law.
This move is likely to further increase the country's international isolation and deepen its economic difficulties, as the 130 NGOs are a major source of employment and above all constitute the main bodies through which almost all of Burundi's foreign aid is channeled. In addition, the suspension may have negative consequences on business, agricultural, and banking activities. Burundi has been plunged into a political and economic crisis since the contested July 2015 elections, in which President Pierre Nkurunziza was elected to a controversial third term in defiance of term limits. While the country appears to be experiencing a period of relative calm (certainly in comparison to the violent outbreaks witnessed in 2015 and 2016), the situation remains worrisome, politically and economically.
Individuals present in Burundi are advised to monitor the situation and maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.
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