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Burundi: 8 risk factors for human rights violations ahead of the elections

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) held an Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session on the 9th March 2020 ahead of elections later this year in Burundi. What was said there is interesting and the international community should look into this. As the monitoring of the situation on the grounds are hard, as the authorities and government of Burundi has blocked it.

This is clearly 8 risk factors ahead of the elections. This can be as bloody and a big off a crisis like around 2015. As the state is in a worse situation, than at the last go-around. The state is more violent and brutal. Because it has gotten away with it and can continue with the evil spiral against enemies without any fear of repercussions or even sanctions. They are just left alone and can clean their own slate.

The risk factors ahead is on political, economic and security instability (1),

climate of impunity for serious human rights violations (2 & 3),

existence of intentions and motives to resort to violence (4),

capacity of diverse actors to resort to violence (5),

lack of solid representative and national civil society (6),

enabling circumstances and a conducive environment to violence and human rights violations (7) and existing triggering factors for violence (8).

All of those points are here explained by the oral briefing, which is stating the reality on the ground. It is bleak and not rosy. This here is not grounds for a free and fair election, but for a bloody enterprise keeping CNDD-FDD at power, at any cost and with all willpower existing.

Look!

We note a deterioration of the situation in regards to risk factor n°1 on political, economic and security instability. Despite the official statements from Burundian authorities claiming that there is peace and security in Burundi, several serious incidents that occurred recently is evidence of the volatility of the situation” (…) “The economic situation has further deteriorated. Decisions by the Government to monopolise the trade of gold and foreign currencies, the prohibition of foreign money transfers by the main mobile telecommunication operators, as well as the management takeover of the coffee sector by the government – one of the major export sectors of the country – are all last resort measures to rectify the acute lack of foreign currencies, which prevents imports and creates shortages of basic products and medicine, which has a negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights by all Burundians” (OCHA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020).

The second and third risk factors related to the widespread climate of impunity for serious human rights violations, recent and old, and to the weakness of State structures able to prevent or halt potential violations remain relevant. Given that the related indicators have more of a structural dimension, there has not been any significant evolution during the last months. Imbonerakure continue to enjoy near total impunity” (OCHA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020).

We observed a more ambiguous development regarding risk factor n°4, namely the existence of intentions and motives to resort to violence, particularly the desire of the Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-Forces de défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD) to hold onto power, including by using past grievances and cases of impunity for political purposes” (OCHA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020)

Concerning risk factor n°5, the capacity of diverse actors to resort to violence and to carry out violations, the recent security incidents are all reminiscent of the existence of different armed groups and their capacity to intervene on Burundian territory. ” (OHCA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020).

The lack of motivating factors such as a solid, organised and representative national civil society; and free, diversified and independent national media (risk factor n°6), has seen an increase. (OHCA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020).

Risk factor 7 on enabling circumstances and a conducive environment to violence and human rights violations, including the manipulation – for political purposes- of identity, past events or motives for engaging in violence, has increased” (OHCA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020).

With regards to risk factor 8, i.e. the existence of triggering factors such as the holding of elections, we note the ongoing preparation of different ballots between May and August 2020, and some aspects of the electoral process have already prompted some questions and concerns” (OHCA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020).

That is enough for now. The 8 risk factors are active and the worrying signs are all there. Let see, if there will be any outrage or if people let it slide. Since, this is the wrong zip-code to worry about. The enemies of the state can just die and be violently taken away. This is what the authorities and continue to do. Elections tend to amplify it too.

We can rest assured that election violence occure, it is sponsored by the state and to significantly impress their master. That is what they do, what we cannot know is to what extent and how many victims that will be counted. Every single life touched by this is one to much. However, don’t expect an outcry or such. Only bitter silence, as several more lives get taken away on the mantle of reigning supreme. Peace.

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