UN report unveils Burundi’s continuous rights abuses despite government change

United Nations, Burundi, human rights, Pierre Nkurunziza, Evariste Ndayishimiye,

The UN human rights report, released on Thursday, revealed Burundi’s worsening human rights condition despite change of government

The UN human rights report, released on Thursday, revealed Burundi’s worsening human rights condition despite change of government. The UN officials who carried out the investigations issued ‘fresh warnings about ongoing rights violations and impunity in Burundi’. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi said that the country witnessed very little “positive changes” since President Evariste Ndayishimiye “assumed office” in June.

Francoise Hampson, one of the members of the Commission of Inquiry member, emphasised that her team found evidences of serious human rights crimes during this year’s elections in May, including mass executions, rape, torture and sexual violence.

In recent weeks there have continued to be killings, there have continued to be arbitrary detentions and there have continued to be disappearances. So it’s slightly surprising that it is continuing as it was even though elections have finished. And that is a matter of very grave concern.

Francoise Hampson, one of the members of the Commission of Inquiry member

The UN report came after Burundi’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which has been looking into the African country’s atrocious past and investigating mass graves, and condemned the handling of affairs of local leaders in charge during a 1972 massacre. Besides politically-motivated crimes, Burundi has also fallen victim to frequent episodes of ethnic violence and BTR Commission has been looming into that and working to recover the remains of victims. But its mandate only covers the period until 2008, which keeps the most recent episodes of political violence out of its reach.

The UN report hinted that they key cause of ongoing rights crimes was that those who committed violations in the past were part of the present government. Besides, the new administration drew majority of its leaders from military, who had history of conducting executions, kidnapping and beatings. For the positions they now held, they enjoyed complete impunity form their previous horrendous doings.

The report noted that Ndayishimiye, who served as the interior minister in the previous regime, promoted high-ranking military officers involved in human rights abuses, appointed some military officers to the offices of governorships, which were earlier held by civilians, and appointed two men in his cabinet who blacklisted under sanctions for rights violations. In a virtual press conference, Commission of Inquiry chairperson Doudou Diene warned that policy shifts, appointments, and public statements by the new Government showed “more cause for concern and warning, than promise”. She even showed concern for the country’s withering democracy which seemed to be working as a veil over authoritarian regime.

About Rashmi Sacher

With over more than 3 years of writing obituaries for the local paper, Rashmi Sacher has a uniquely strong voice that shines through in her writings.

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