UN Human Rights Council concerned about violations in Burundi

The commission of inquiry on Human Rights violations in Burundi has presented its first oral briefing to the Human Rights Council, in Geneva, Switzerland. Fatsah Ouguergouz, the chair of the commission says they are concerned at the scale and gravity of the human rights violations and abuses that have been brought to their attention.

“The trends observed in 2015 and 2016 appear to be continuing, including persistent allegations of violations of the right to life and physical integrity, notably an increase in enforced disappearances”, he says. The chair of the commission also says the arrests, particularly of people suspected of participating in opposition groups, continue to be reported, as do allegations of torture.

Armel Niyongere, one of the Burundi human rights activists, says SOS Torture campaign has presented a 2016 report in which 46 people from 12 provinces were arbitrarily executed. 149 others from political parties including the ruling CNDD FDD party were killed. The same report reveals the killing of citizens in different areas of the country, the abduction of 74 people by the agents of security forces and the Imbonerakure youths, the torture of 128 people from Bururi, Bubanza, Kirundo and Gitega provinces as well as the arbitrary arrest of 4034 people in different areas of the country.”We have pledged the UN commission of inquiry to identify the authors and bring them to justice”, says Niyongere.

Fatsah Ouguergouz says the experts were concerned about the impunity enjoyed by people responsible for these violations. “We are particularly concerned by the near-complete impunity. Even when victims or witnesses are able to identify suspected perpetrators, cases of prosecution of State agents, or those who appear to have their support, are rare”, he says.

He calls on the Burundian Government to cooperate with the Commission. “We regret to date the lack of co-operation with the government of Burundi, although a member of the Council”. The commission will present its second briefing in June 2017 and the final report will be published in September 2017.

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By Diane Uwimana