Burundi has suspended all international non-governmental organisations, officials said on Tuesday, saying they would need to re-register.
The government has listed several reasons for the move, such as laws on their financial operations, but some critics are concerned it is a crackdown by President Pierre Nkurunziza.
Burundi has been seized by civil unrest since 2015 when Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term in office.
Earlier this year, changes to the constitution were approved that allow him to potentially remain in power until 2034. He has, however, said he’ll step down in 2020.
“From Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, Burundi does not recognise the existence of any non-governmental organisation on its territory.
“Registration must be done again,’’ Home Affairs Minister Pascal Barandagiye said.
“Many NGOs have not respected the law that governs them,’’ he added at the meeting with non-profit representatives, where they were told they had three months to re-register.
There are about 130 international NGOs in the east African country.
“This measure only confirms the massive and progressive violation of human rights in the country of President Nkurunziza,’’ Martin Nahimana, an economics expert from analytics firm Change Initiative, told dpa.
In September, after UN criticism of rights abuses, Burundi banned three UN human rights experts from entering the country.
Under Burundi law, there are also ethnic quotas for such organisations, which stipulate that they hire 60 per cent Hutus and 40 per cent Tutsis.
The state claims that some organisations have not respected this law.