Politics

Commission of Inquiry on Burundi denounces several abuses

On Wednesday, June 27, the UN commission of inquiry presented its report on Burundi to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. It denounced the persistence of human rights violations. Bujumbura government accuses the commission of being a sound box of all the negative forces.

The report which accuses Bujumbura was presented in Geneva

The report which accuses Bujumbura was presented in Geneva

As it was denied access to Burundi, the commission said it had traveled to Ethiopia, Belgium, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. It met with experts and victims of human rights violations in Burundi.

In total, more than 380 one-on-one or phone interviews were conducted with Burundians in exile or residing in the country. These interviews add to 500 testimonies gathered last year.
In the end, the commission says the situation is still very worrying in Burundi. According to Doudou Diène, Chairman of the commission, President Nkurunziza’s recent statement that his term of office ends in 2020 should not overshadow the context in which the referendum campaign took place.

The list of human rights violations includes extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, acts of torture, arbitrary arrests and detentions against opponents of the draft amendment to the Constitution. “In addition, there are violations of civil liberties and economic and social rights.”
The police, agents of the National Intelligence Service and Imbonerakure (youth wing of the ruling party CNDD-FDD) are blamed as the source of these abuses.

The commission regrets that no serious investigation has been carried out by the Burundian authorities into these cases. Some prefer to go into exile and those who stay in the country prefer to go silent. The commission recommends an inclusive political dialogue.

A settling of accounts

The permanent representative of Burundi in Geneva strongly rejected this report and spoke of a commission that has become a box of resonance of all the negative forces against Bujumbura. According to Ambassador Rénovat Tabu, the language and the subjective contents of this report deviate from the quality of a scientific and objective work that should be the result of a seasoned lawyer who claims to be the chairman of this commission.

Burundi is now a peaceful country. Its partners are invited to opt for cooperation for the benefit of all.

Bujumbura believes that the president of the commission fell into political considerations: “Such an expert does not have the merit of doing a job that honors the Human Rights Council.”

Bujumbura calls for the resignation of Doudou Diène. “In order to safeguard his reputation, he should follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Mr. Ouguergouz, and bravely stand down. Burundi goes further and declares that it reserves the right to bring to justice its wrong accusers whether or not they are members of this commission.


Reactions


Agathon Rwasa: “Bujumbura never recognizes that there are problems in the country.”

RwasaThe first vice-president of the National Assembly said he was not surprised that Bujumbura rejected such reports. “Burundi government never recognizes that there are problems in the country. For Agathon Rwasa, it is easy to say that the content of this report is a lie. The government should prove why such reports are lies.

“The government should prove that those people who claim to have been tortured have not really suffered any form of torture.” The leader of Amizero y’Abarundi opposition coalition gives the example of people who were mistreated last Tuesday, in Mugina commune, accused of having voted no in the recently held referendum. It is difficult to say that democracy has taken root in the country while there is still a lot to do to strengthen it. It only exists in slogans.

Abel Gashatsi: “Saying that the situation is worrying in Burundi is an exaggeration.”

Abel GashatsiThe UPRONA party president said that it must be recognized that the country is now calm. “To say that the situation is worrying in Burundi is an exaggeration.
Abel Gashatsi rejects allegations that the referendum was characterized by human rights violations:

“During the referendum campaign, politicians conducted peaceful campaigns all over the country.” He called on the writers of the report to return to Burundi to see the situation instead of working on rumors and information collected on social networks. Those who submitted this report should rather support Burundi in the process of the next elections, said Mr Gashatsi.s

Written by Agnès Ndirubusa and translated

by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana

 

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