NGOs propose sanctions against perpetrators of serious human rights violations in Burundi

While the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is holding a consultation about Burundi, 19 local and international NGOs urge it to impose targeted sanctions against Burundians responsible for serious human rights violations perpetrated in Burundi.

The UN Security Council holding a consultation on Burundi

The UN Security Council holding a consultation on Burundi

In a letter addressed to the UNSC, those organizations say some police officers and members of the youth wing of the ruling party CNDD-FDD, commonly called Imbonerakure, continue to commit abuses with impunity.

“Some Imbonerakure kill, torture, rape and beat severely a large number of people throughout the country,” says Lambert Nigarura, a civil society activist.
These organizations propose the imposition of strict sanctions against people responsible for the crimes committed in Burundi. “We have shown that sanctions such as travel bans and the freezing of assets do not have a negative impact on the population as a whole, but would be a strong message to Burundian leaders who are not concerned about ongoing violent abuses against their own people, “Nigarura says.

Gaston Sindimwo, First Vice-President of the Republic of Burundi says the government has competent authorities that punish the perpetrators of such crimes once committed in the country. “The allegations of these NGOs reflect a kind of manipulation. Since 2012, non-governmental organizations have accused the government of forming the ‘Imbonerakure’ militia. Their aim is to divide the Burundian people, which is a consequence of the political crisis that erupted in 2015, “says Sindimwo.

For him, these organizations want to manipulate the international opinion. “They have always accused the government of oppressing opponents, but without convincing evidence,” Sindimwo says. They are trying to tarnish the image of Burundi.

“The Burundian authorities are always serene and will never support criminals. We have judicial bodies to rule on the crimes committed in Burundi, “he says. He calls on the Burundian population to stay vigilant to prevent those who want to plunge the country into the crisis.

Burundi crisis has arisen since April 2015 when the ruling CNDD-FDD party officially announced the candidacy of Pierre Nkurunziza in the 2015 presidential elections. UN reports say more than 500 people have died and over 380,000 Burundians have fled the country.