Human Right

Bujumbura refuses to cooperate with UN commission of inquiry on Burundi

Fatsah Ouguergouz, recently appointed by UN Human Rights body to chair the Commission of inquiry on Burundi

Fatsah Ouguergouz, recently appointed by UN Human Rights body to chair the Commission of inquiry on Burundi

The UN Human Rights body appointed on 22 November three commissioners namely Fatsah Ouguergouz (Algeria), Reina Alapini Gansu (Benin) and Francoise Hampson (United Kingdom) to investigate human rights violations and abuses committed in Burundi. Ouguergouz will serve as the Chair of the three-member Commission. The Commission has also been mandated to identify the alleged perpetrators of violations and abuses since April 2015.

Martin Nivyabandi, Burundi Minister of Human Rights says this commission is not necessary in Burundi since the Burundian Government can ensure the security for its citizens. “Burundi government said it would not cooperate with that commission. Burundi Ambassador to Geneva said that Burundi was not ready to collaborate with the three commissioners when the UN Human right body set up the commission”, said Nivyabandi.

He reassures the Burundian population that the African Union has already deployed 40 military and human rights observers to monitor the human rights situation. “They are in the country and we collaborate every day,” he says.

Anchaire Nikoyagize, Burundi human rights activist, welcomes the setting up of a commission of inquiry that will investigate the human rights situation in Burundi. “We have repeatedly asked international observers to monitor human rights situation in Burundi. This commission gives us reason to hope that all those who are involved in crimes against humanity and other serious crimes committed in Burundi will ultimately be brought to justice,” says Nikoyagize.

He also says the fact that Burundi government refuses to cooperate with this commission of inquiry shows self-accusation. “Burundi is not isolated. The international community follows closely what is happening in the country”, he warns.

The Commission will be present during an oral briefing to the Human Rights Council at its 34th and 35th sessions, in March and June 2017, respectively, and a final report at an interactive dialogue at the Council’s 36th session in September 2017.

Burundi has plunged into a political crisis since April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a controversial third term in office that he won.

To date, UN reports say that hundreds of people have been killed, more than 250,000 have fled the nation, and thousands more have been arrested and possibly subjected to human rights violations.