Burkina Faso
Head of state
Blaise Compaoré
Head of government
Tertius Zongo
Death penalty
abolitionist in practice
16.3 million
Life expectancy
53.7 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f)
160/154 per 1,000
Adult literacy
28.7 per cent

A man died as a result of ill-treatment by police; two others were shot dead by members of the security forces during the resulting protests. At least one person was sentenced to death. Despite an official commitment to improve access to maternal health care, maternal mortality remained high.

Death in custody and extrajudicial executions

In June, Arnaud Somé, an alleged drug trafficker, was arrested by police in Gaoua, 400km north of Ouagadougou, the capital. He was beaten and severely ill-treated, and died in hospital as a result of his injuries. In the following days, protests against torture in custody in Gaoua became violent and were repressed by the police. Using live ammunition, police killed two people – Sié Bouréïma Kambou and Etienne Da. An inquiry was opened, but by the end of 2010 the findings had not been made public.

Top of page

Death penalty

In June, Alaye Diakité was sentenced to death by the Criminal Chamber of the Appeal Court of Bobo Dioulasso for the murder of his half-brother.

Top of page

Right to health – maternal mortality

In February, during a meeting with Amnesty International’s interim Secretary General, President Blaise Compaoré committed to lifting all financial barriers to emergency obstetric care and access to family planning, as part of a strategy to combat maternal mortality.

In April, Burkina Faso co-sponsored a resolution on maternal mortality at the UN Human Rights Council. It called for a human rights perspective to address preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and greater commitment and political will.

Despite these commitments, by the end of 2010 no real measures had been taken to improve maternal health services. In particular, women were required to pay fees if they gave birth in government facilities. Access to family planning and to contraceptive services remained very low.

Top of page

Human rights by region

World regions Midde East and North Africa Asia Pacific Europe and Central Asia Africa Americas


A number of countries in Africa celebrated the 50th anniversary of their independence during the year while others prep ...


In the Americas many human rights have been recognized in law, if not always in practice, over the past 50 years. Whi ...

Asia Pacific

In a region with almost two thirds of the world’s population, stretching a third of the way around the planet, ...

Europe & Central Asia

The right to truth and justice, and the determination of victims and their relatives to achieve this how ...

Middle East and North Africa

2010 dawned with Yemen an unusual focus of international attention following an alleged terrorist ...

Jump to a Country Report

Country Reports

Country Visits

  • A high-level Amnesty International mission visited Burkina Faso in February.