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Ethiopia: Fatal resistance in the Amhara Region!

In Ethiopia, the problem is that you don’t know who’s who. You don’t know who to trust. You don’t have any freedom”Feyisa Lilesa

There been utter silence on the fatal resistance in Ethiopia. Where certain regions are still under fire by the central government or the Ethiopian People’s Democratic Revolutionary Front (EPDRF) or the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). They have done whatever they can to silence the oppression and the resistance in the region.

Down down with the regim, down down with TPLF. We denounce the brutal killings of protestors in Woldia, Kobo, Wello, Amhara and all across the country, ” chanted young people in Mersa as they protest against the massacre in Kobo and Woldiya that killed over 60, heavily injured hundreds, and damaged business worth of millions, according to eye witnesses” (Amhara Press, 28.01.2018).

On the 21st January 2018 in Weldiya in the Amhara Regional State during the demonstration during the festival town. The Aghazi force has killed 5 people. During the whole Festival and Weekend reports was about 20 people killed by the military, as the crackdown continued. This is the second year in the row the government attacks the religious festival of Irrecha. One of the killed people was a twelve year old boy.

On the 22nd January 2018 the United Nations Department for Safety and Security in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia sent out a Secret Memo warning the UN workers of traveling in the Amhara region. Specifying all WHO Staff from crossing from Woldoya to Mekele. That staff should take an alternative route to Western Tigray area. Also make sure WHO staff in Mekele Office needs caution in the events of revenge. This means the United Nations and WHO would know about the activity in the region. The clearest statement was this: “The events in Amhara are quite far from our office in Bahir Dir. (roughly 500 kms away), however UNDSS temporarily suspended all UN road mission inside or the Amhara Region”. This was all warnings made by Alaa Farouk.

So with the knowledge of the internal memo of the UNDSS of 22nd January, the people should know the actions of the EPDRF or TPLF is bad. As the Aghazi Squad and Tigrayan Army are there answering the demonstrations with violence.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:

“We are extremely concerned by the use of force by security officials against worshippers celebrating the Ethiopian Orthodox festival of Epiphany this weekend that left at least seven people dead and a number injured. The incident, in Woldiya City in Amhara Regional State on 20 January, reportedly took place when the security forces tried to stop people from chanting anti-government songs and allegedly opened fire on them. Protesters reportedly later blocked roads and destroyed a number of properties.”” (UN High Commission for Human Rights, 23.01.2018).

On the 25th January the reports of attacks by the government in the town of Kobo. Unclear about how many who was killed here, but their been burned state buildings and cars. As the civil unrest and demonstrations in the region is rising. Small towns in and around Kobo, the people has started to demonstrate as well. Over two days of demonstrations, the military has killed about 10 people.

In areas like Mesra, at least 16 people are killed. There been dropped bombs over the town. The Police Station, Local Court, residences and the local Administration Office was burned down. That was done on the 27th January 2018. “Everyone has boycotted Tigrain business in town as they are spying us, and leading the repression here in our city. They are in a loss. They wanted to sell their property. But, nobody is interested in visiting in their real estate show time. Arson sabotage seems to be the most revengeful and profitable way out for them,” says Kindu, a real estate agent in North Wello, Amhara, Ethiopia” (Amhara Network, 27.01.2018).

So within quick counting within a week in the Amhara region, there been killed by state security agents over 60 people. That is safe estimates, not even exaggerated or bloated. The TPLF and the Aghazi Squad could easily taken more people’s lives. This is just the safe numbers of actually deceased. It could be much worse. This regime has no scruples and showing it with sending the army against their citizens. That should be a warning and unsettle anyone. Since they are using the vile force of oppression against their own. Peace.

Ethiopia hit by a new strike: the ‘Anti-Tax Strike’ in Amhara and Oromia Region!

Again, has the TPLF and Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the Central Government from Addis Abeba has made decisions to hit the Amhara and Oromia Regions. This time not only with arrests and detaining people who are protesting. At some levels they sent soldiers and Aghazi squad to assassinate protesters. So now they have levied extra taxes because of the cost of the military expenses in the region. Which is offensive as the Central Government are already oppressing them with guards and bullets, now they will target these civilians with higher taxes. This is shutting down the profits and businesses. Therefore, the Anti-Tax strikes are reasonable, as it is an open-air theft of the labor and enterprising people of the Oromia and Amhara. Just take a look!

The new government proposal to boost the tax base and raise much-needed government revenue is facing different forms of protests in the country, especially in Oromia region” (Dahir, 2017).

The Addis Standard newspaper says that last week residents in one city, Ambo, damaged two state-owned vehicles, and this week businneses in other cities have shut in protest. The new tax is being levied on small businesses with an annual turnover of up to 100,000 birr ($4,300; £3,300) in an effort to boost the tax base and raise much needed government revenue. But the Addis Standard reports that business owners say tax assessors have over-estimated their revenue and are demanding too much”

Strikes have been reported in Shebel Berenta, Woreta, Dessie, Woldia while flyers calling for strikes have been distributed in a number of localities in north Shewa. As the strikes in the Oromo region have continued, Jimma Arjo district, 50 kilometers outside Nekemte has come to a standstill, according to reports reaching ESAT. The tax assessments on small businesses and vendors has faced push-backs by business owners who say assessors have overestimated their daily sales” (ESAT, 2017).

So the state, who has put the whole state under ‘State of Emergency’ last October 2016 are now targeting the rebellious regions and hurting them not only with the parts of their freedoms, but also their pockets. Just because the Central Government cannot act fair towards Amhara and Oromia, they have to sanction more taxes and pay for the security outfits there. The ones types of Police and Army that oppress and hurts the area. That is one of the reasons why the rebellion are there in the first place. If the government acted legit and was representative, then they wouldn’t need to reinforce and use Aghazi force to suppress the public.

With all of the measures done by the TPLF/EPRDF in Addis, they are not feeling the hurt or seeing the vicious attempt of governing. When the civilians are tormented and taken hostage by the army and police. Now they have to pay extra taxes to salve the government spending on these hostile forces. It is insane and shows the illegitimacy of their insurgency. They are like a foreign force in their own state and therefore, they act like it is suppress the regions a bit more. This time by the pocket, as their stolen liberty and freedom has already been taken. Like all the provisions in the State of Emergency, which take away most of the ordinary freedoms. They have even suspended dozens of papers and televisions stations. For long time taken away the telephone and internet to silence the information from the regions. So it is not like the State has not done what it can to suppress, this is one more measure in a long line of offensive moves by the EPRDF. Peace.

Reference:

BBC – ‘Ethiopia hit by anti-tax protests’ (22.07.2017) link: https://www.addistar.com/2017/07/18/ethiopia-hit-anti-tax-protests/

Dahir, Abdi Latif – ‘Ethiopia’s Troubled Oromia Region Has Been Hit with Anti-tax Protests’ (19.07.2017) link: http://onlineethiopia.net/2017/07/ethiopia-oromia-hit-anti-tax-protests/

ESAT – ‘Ethiopia: Anti-tax strike spreads to the Amhara region’ (21.07.2017) link: https://ethsat.com/2017/07/ethiopia-anti-tax-strike-spreads-amhara-region/

Ethiopia: State of Emergency update with a newly issued Internet shutdown!

The State of Emergency that was issued last year October 2016 is still in effect in Ethiopia. Today isn’t the first day of this. This effort from the state has lasted for 7 months and 22 days. Total days by count is 234 days. So the State has really hold control for long.

The stat has used the Agazi squad, which is a part of the army in the regions of Amhara and Oromia provinces. Ethiopia People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the Ruling regime of the Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn have put harsh rules and regulations during the ‘State of Emergency’. It is not like the EPRDF are honorable, they are detaining opposition for treason and harsh charges in kangaroo courts. They are monitoring all opposition and have put thousands into jail during the recent months. Even killed in the provinces mentioned. As they are trying to silence the oppressed in Amhara and Oromia.

Sources in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa told Quartz the internet was reinstutted on Wednesday morning after more than a 12-hour shutdown. Others, however, said that the connection was still being interrupted, and was going on and off. “No connection at all. Everything was blocked,” Biniam Alemayehu said. Alemayehu told Quartz that his 4G phone connection didn’t start working until 9.30 am” (Quartz, 01.06.2017).

Therefore, the total Internet Ban released today isn’t shocking, it is the continuation of violations of human right’s, liberty and freedom of expression. There are only allowed to say and do as the Central Government orders. The rest is silenced or blocked. Just like radio-channel and TV-Stations has been either blocked or censored by the government. Not like the government in Ethiopia now are caring about expression or even other views to their rule. Therefore, are bloggers, human-rights activists and others are behind bars.

Just like the sentence on 24th May:

Today, 4th bench of Federal High Court, has passed “guilty” verdict against journalist Getachew Shiferaw, editor in chief of Negere Ethiopia, according to criminal code article 257/A and 257/D. He was primarily charged with article 7/1 of ATP but downgraded to criminal code, which is “inciting violence”. While reading the verdict, the judges underlined that Getachew, in his private Facebook conversation, said «‘Abebeism’ [to intervene while authorities are publicly speaking] is a good strategy. Every authority who oppresses citizens must know that their honor can be undermined similarly.» This, said the judges, is endorsing what journalist Abebe Gellaw – who was convicted in absentia of violating the infamous ‘ATP’ – has done against the late PM Meles. Even though Getachew has not done ‘this endorsement’ in public nor has tried to do it himself, the judges believed he might do the same “if he gets the chance” and said this might interrupt officials to do their regular jobs.”

In Amhara State an armed opposition group named Patriotic Ginbot 7 are gaining traction in Southern Gondar areas, where the armed rebel group is reacting to the massacres from the state. In Oromia there are still horror stories of the oppressive state. The ones believing that the Ethiopian state are stopping the Internet connectivity because of Exams are naive. They are so naive that they would celebrate the State of Emergency, as the states of Ethiopia where having peaceful demonstrations, but the EPRDF or TPLF couldn’t handle the people’s uprising.

Like the Story of Denebo Wario:

It was exactly a year toady that obbo Dekeba Wario, my father was abducted by heavily armed soldiers of the terrorist regime in the Horn of Africa. My mother, my siblings, and extended family members and friends wouldn’t know for a few weeks where he was kept. Little sister of mine who was worried and painfully missing her dad took it to her facebook account to breath her feelings of frustration saying ” I love you, dad”. This caused the regime’s soldiers (more than 40 armed men and women in uniform) to raid my parents’ home in Shashemene district of the South Central Oromia. My sister (under 18 years of age) and my mother who had already been in pain of not knowing dad’s whereabouts ended up receiving the notoriously known brutal and inhumane treatments from the solicitors who had arrived with the usual motive of terrorising the entire town- to teach every one in the village a lesson. By God’s grace, both my sister and mum have survived but with severe mental and physical injuries, experiences reflective of millions of Oromo parents and children. Weeks later dad was found to have been kept at the MAIKELAWI jail, facility used by the terrorist regime to torture people allegedly linked with opposition parties, civil societies, and human rights. The soldiers charged dad with involvement in the Oromo Liberation Front, an opposition political organisation that every Oromo, according to Meles Zenawi( leader of the Ethiopia’s terrorist regime deceased few years ago) identifies with. He was brought to the “Federal Supreme Court” whose judge ruled out (unusually) that dad should be released on bail, a kangaroo court’s decision unsurprisingly ignored by the soldiers. Ever since, dad has been languishing in jail alongside, of course, with hundreds of thousands of other Oromo men and women of similar background. In spite of all these, my mother, siblings, and all family members have remained resilient, by the grace of God. My father who has spent most of his life going into and out of prison because of his believe in democracy, human rights as well as the rule of law, and escaped death with narrow gaps on several occasions is miraculously still alive. He may even stay alive long enough to see prevalence of freedom over repression in Oromia, the nation he dearly loves. Thanks to our Waaqa, the almighty God” (Denebo Wario, 31.05.2017).

This is enough for now, as the story itself is dire. The situation in Ethiopia isn’t what it should be, instead it is oppression of the citizens. The State of Emergency has now lasted for over 7 months and more people are detained. The critics are getting arrested, harassed or killed. The State doesn’t care about the citizens, therefore they can easily use the army and the police to oppress. They tries to control it, but are instead creating more violent demonstrations and more violent groups working against the government. As they have to react to the oppressive behavior. Therefore, the strengthening of the Patriotic Ginabot 7 in Amhara. This wouldn’t be there if they listed to the demonstrations from Oromia and Amhara in 2016 that was peaceful, but the state silenced with merciless force. Peace.

Democratic Republican Party SVG Condems and Urges removal of Clause 16 of the Cybercrime Bill 2016 (24.07.2016)

DPR Cyber PR P1DPR Cyber PR P2DPR Cyber PR P3

Agreeing with Besigye and it feels good; though sadden by the wisdom Hon. Kiiza…

Besigye Kampala 11.05.2016 P3

Eh! It feels good to have same opinion as the incarcerated Presidential Candidate of the Forum for Democratic Change Dr. Kizza Besigye, he have lately been able to drop a few words to the public from his jail cell in Luzira Maximum Prison, this happens as the FDC scrambles for etiquette and justify their place in the 10th Parliament.

First he will address the Shadow Cabinet, and say similar words to my own. Though he is the freedom fighter and proves that with his words, as he knows the caliber of oppression the regime have and the legitimacy the Shadow Cabinet does. Take a quick look!  

First Point – Shadow Cabinet!

On the Shadow Cabinet:

“I do not think MPs should be reduced to fighting for small positions in Parliament. What we need to be fighting for is different. We need to struggle to strengthen our position on the ground and form structures like the Power 10 we used in elections to develop capacity to take on the regime that we know has lost credibility. In Parliament, they are just there to make numbers they can’t change anything President Museveni wants whether in Opposition or not,” (…) “We can’t allow positions in Parliament that mean nothing to cause rifts yet we have much to do,” (…)“I have spent much of my youthful age in the struggle, now I am over 60 years, I am not growing younger. What is remaining is that we must fight to the end whoever dies, others will continue. We can’t hold on any more until we get peace, justice, freedom and equality before the law,” – Dr. Kizza Besigye (Rumanzi, Perez – ‘Nothing to fight for in Parliament, says Besigye’ 26.06.2016 – Daily Monitor).

Kiiza Article Daily Monitor

What Winnie Kiiza has said of late on the Shadow Cabinet:

“… Many people look at Opposition as enemies of the state … people don’t want to associate with us in the Opposition … In multiparty dispensation, opposition parties are supposed to guide and check government, Ugandans should know that at the time we are taking on leadership, as opposition we are facing tough times, so let’s join hands for a better Uganda” Hon Winnie Kiiza (Leader of Opposition).

When you the incarcerated Besigye, the leader who have been able to unify the opposition and also being the man who made progress on the frontline and talked about the real change in the country, to create accountability and democratic values, that Hon. Kiiza who are part of his party is first throwing him under the bus and dodging the entangled issue. While she is defending the righteous ways of being a opposition leader in Parliament, also giving up the principals and all the oppression for quick silver and made-believe possibilities, if not the sealing of the Ministry of Education and Sports after the swearing in Janet Museveni, if the NRM regime and ruling party where democratic then the Ministry would be allowed to use phones and not run under the strict control of the First Lady of Uganda. And this is the regime that LoP is serving and not giving way for liberation and freedom from the Police State under the NRM. That is something she cannot run away from, but easy to attack Besigye while he is behind bars and not visible, but he is the epitome of everything the regime is not. That is also what the issue and the reason why Hon. Kiiza have to defend her place in the Parliament…

kavuma

Second Point – Deputy Justice Steven Kavuma:

Points taken from the letter to Stephen Kavuma:

“LETTER FROM LUZIRA PRISON: ‪Dr. Kizza Besigye ‪of the ‎FDC has petitioned the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to investigate the suitability of Justice Steven Kavuma as a justice of the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court. In a June 16 letter from Luzira prison, BESIGYE alleges that Justice Kavuma is close to the Executive and that instead of doing judicial work in line with the oath he took, he is allegedly doing the bidding of President Museveni, the appointing authority. In a five-page letter, BESIGYE alleges improper conduct, abuse of office, neglect of duty and maladministration by Justice Kavuma which he says should be investigated and appropriate action taken against him. The core mandate of the JSC is to recruit and discipline errant judicial officers. “The conduct of Mr ‪‎Steven Kavuma, over the years since he joined the ‪#‎UGANDAJUDICIARY was initially frequently suspicious, then later frequently outrageous and currently, predominantly improper to point of going against the oaths and the standards expected of such a judicial officer,” Dr Kizza Besigye” (Forum for Democratic Change, 27.06.2016).

The point is valid as Stephen Kavuma has done more to show loyalty to Museveni and NRM than keeping up with unlawful practice. The Justice been more entangled into the works of conducting the orders from above and prove that he justify the truths of the NRM Regime, and the Police State under control of the above high. Together with the Uganda Police going against the opposition and being a tool to control the dissidents instead of stopping criminal activity, also bribing people to be witness and create fake affidavits to secure the rulings in favor of the ruling regime, instead of justice; and it is in this regard that Besigye also write to the Justice Kavuma, it is not a personal vendetta, more of a justified question, as the judge went directly and at one point made FDC party illegal; something that the justice shouldn’t do as a respectable state, as the Defiance shouldn’t be an issue in the nation of Resistance.

So I say this, and for those that are surprised by the assessment, I agree with both pieces and opinions from Dr. Kizza Besigye. His words on LoP and Shadow Cabinet, is similar to the ones I have addressed, they must surely be hurtful for Hon. Kiiza and Gen. Mugisha Muntu, as the proof in the words are addressing the reality on the ground, the same I have written in the recent months.

Muntu Besigye Delegation Conferance 2015

The same feeling about the Judge and his activity that is more about personal attitude and serves the Mzee instead of being a man of justice, a judge who respect the law and does not serve the Executive, but the laws and regulatory of the state.

There is more to come, as the court-rooms and litigations will continue to be given to Dr. Kizza Besigye and Forum for Democratic Change, while the ruling regime does what it can to take down the opposition and doing that with the main competitor as Besigye are usually silenced by the prison cell and by the alleged crimes put on the politician.

And Mzee must be happy that he can create fuzz between the Muntu-FDC and the Besigye-FDC, as he also did with the UPC-Otunnu and UPC-Akena. Just think about that for a minute, and say I am wrong? Peace.

Opinion: Human Rights versus National Security is B.S. when spoken about in Ugandan context right now!

Besigye 04.05.2016 House Arrest

Let me clear this is my view and not a general view as there might be seen as fellow counterparts have the same. There is hard to have peace, a general peace and neutral peace when fellow citizens are made enemies. You can’t have in a territory both enemies and neutrals. That doesn’t work, as the enemies of the state will be hunted down at one point. Something that happens as the National Security values will counter to bring down the enemies.

When you have come to the Point as you have made the Opposition to the worst enemies in country and therefore want’s to crush them. In a nation where the Ruling Party set the standard and have the rights first, the Human rights will be the norm. As the newest law that strengthen the government power instead of giving more back to the citizens. Citizens get quicker behind bars for nothing with the new laws; also with keeping the old laws from Colonial times gives the Police possibility to Preventative arrests and even detain without court order within 24 hours. Something that the Opposition parties have felt time and time again.

Ngabo Arrest 03.05.2016 P2 Smile

The initial ones that are saying that the National Security goes before the Human Rights are the ruling elite who earn the money by running the system. The Ruling Elite does not want to the system to change as they earn massive profits on it. Why change something that is currently working right? Well, is it? When you have to prosecute and make fellow citizens criminals, opposition members, opposition leaders from Councilors to Members of Parliament, that happens without questions and that is not a healthy society.

This way of working is making the opposition criminal and their activity criminal. That the society nearly or bravely saying assembles them for prayers are illegal says something of what that rule of law in the country. And it is illegal since it is a part of Defiance Campaign of the FDC that is by Interim Order of 29th April 2016 by Deputy Justice Stephen Kavuma.

Gulu 03.05.2016

So that a National Political Party from the Opposition should not be enemy of the state; as they come with peaceful demonstration and disobedience. President Museveni has used guns and fear to keep himself in power. Together with buying alliances and paying to silence the ones who is hungry. Not everybody can be paid for silence as Bishops and Jimmy Akena of the UPC. Therefore he makes the ones enemies as he did with Dr. Milton Obote and Tito Okello. He has done the same with others and people have eaten it up, but now he shows that his colors are the same.

The National Security of the country is now meaning that the President is secure and his ruling elite. Not that the Security of the nation and all citizens of the country. If it was so then that would be different and would make a difference.

NRM Campaign 25.01.2016

Human rights as free movement, demonstrations and free speech shouldn’t be so hard for the National Resistance Movement, but if they we’re a legitimate ruling party they wouldn’t had an issue it with it. They wouldn’t have used the Police to detain peaceful demonstrators in the streets around an Opposition Party Headquarters in Kampala. The Police Force wouldn’t have put the regulatory of who could enter the premises or not. Even detaining fellow staff of the Headquarters… if that is not flabbergasting and boggles your mind then you don’t know to what extent the NRM Regime goes.

NRM UPF 07.01.16 Mbale Clock Tower

The National Security aspect isn’t for securing the safety for the citizens, it is for securing the riches for the elite and their businesses. As they earn monies over fist and have to keep it that way, even meaning that that they earn money on embezzling the government funds here and there. But that is not a value worth to consider. As the human rights and the justice for all men is not considered, only considered when it matters for the NRM elite. That should be a worry for the media, for the state and for the citizens.

Dr. Kizza Besigye and his new house-arrest is not biggest breach of human rights, it is just the epitome of how the government does not care about human rights, justice or rule of law. He is illegally detained by the Police Force as he is a criminal for defending his belief and the judgement of Electoral Commission that was fixed to fit the Ruling Party. So he couldn’t even counter the announcement made by the EC this time around because of the harassment of the opposition from the Police. The reason why Opondo and Museveni have sounded like wounded dogs while defending the announcement and victory. Even the double victory after the Supreme Court ruling on the Election Petition! They did not sound like proud winners, more like they knew what they did and wanted to clean their hands from the dirt.

M7 2016 Post Interview quote

As said the Human Rights at this point should come first, as the Government and Police Force is used to target fellow citizens, tax-payers who pays money to the Members of Parliament who doesn’t in the near future pay tax. That is not justice or free society. That is “man eats man Society” of late Julius Nyerere. We this with the men who represent the citizens, eats all the money of the citizens as they do this without taking actions to defend the citizens. The Government and the Police should shield the public, not make parts of the public its enemies. That is the idea that National Security goes in the front of the Human rights paradigm.

If you let the Human rights be stepped on, will you step on all liberties; all kinds of justices will be brought away from court to keep the streets clean in the name of the National Security. If the Human Rights are respected then the citizens; would have rights to not have issues in court unless they violate the criminal codes, but otherwise the civil liberties and the freedoms of the people is not worth anything.

IGP Kale 03.05.2016

The Human Rights of the citizens and the people supposed to have this. So their place in the society is safe and their principal right to live as private persons and not criminals. That the State is making fellow citizens criminals for doing peaceful actions as praying is saying to what kind of a Police State the Ugandan Citizens are under.

But at this day and time the National Security is not for the citizens, but for the ruling elite. Then the obstruction of Human Rights is nonsense and the values of attacking this in the sake of National Security are obsolete. The thought of destroying the freedoms of the citizens and the liberty of the citizens are than gone. Not in the name of National Security, but for the NRM Regime. That is not worthy and not righteous. Peace.   

In rememberence of Patrice Lumumba with his letter to the U.N. Special Representative on 4.1.1961

Patrice Lumumba

The first president after independence from Belgium in Democratic Republic of Congo was assainated on this day in 1961. That is why I have this post on him today as  rememberence of him. Because we should not forget his contribution to equality and freedom in DRC.  That is why I will add on his last letter written on 4th January 1961 from Thysville prison, the letter was sent to Special Representive A.M. Dayal, here it is:

Mr. Special Representative,
On December 27 last, I had the pleasure of receiving a visit from the Red Cross, which occupied itself with my plight and with the plight of the other parliamentarians imprisoned together with me. I told them of the inhuman conditions we are living in.

Briefly, the situation is as follows. I am here with seven other parliamentarians. In addition there are with us Mr. Okito, President of the Senate, a Senate employee and a driver. Altogether there are ten of us. We have been locked up in damp cells since December 2, 1960 and at no time have we been permitted to leave them. The meals that we are brought twice a day are very bad. For three or four days 1 ate nothing but a banana. I told this to the Red Cross medical officer sent to me. I spoke to him in the presence of a colonel from Thysville. I demanded that fruit be bought on my own money because the food that I am given here is atrocious. Although the medical officer gave his permission, the military authorities guarding me turned down my request, stating that they were following orders from Kasavubu and Colonel Mobutu. The medical officer from Thysville prescribed a short walk every evening so that I could leave my cell for at least a little while. But the colonel and the district commissioner denied me this. The clothes that I wear have not been washed for thirty-five days. I am forbidden to wear shoes.

In a word, the conditions we are living in are absolutely intolerable and run counter to all rules. Moreover, I receive no news of my wife and I do not even know where she is. Normally I should have had regular visits from her as is provided for by the prison regulations in force in the Congo. On the other hand, the prison regulations clearly state that not later than a day after his arrest a prisoner must be brought before the investigator handling his case. Five days after this a prisoner must again be arraigned before a judge, who must decide whether to remand him in custody or not. In any case, a prisoner must have a lawyer.

The criminal code provides that a prisoner is released from prison if five days after he is taken into custody the judge takes no decision on remanding him. The same happens in cases when the first decision (which is taken five days after a person is arrested) is not reaffirmed within fifteen days. Since our arrest on December 1 and to this day we have not been arraigned before a judge or visited by a judge. No arrest warrant has been shown to us. We are kept simply in a military camp and have been here for thirty-four days. We are kept in military detention cells. The criminal code is ignored as are the prison rules. Ours is purely a case of arbitrary imprisonment. I must add that we possess parliamentary immunity.

Such is the situation and I ask you to inform the United Nations Secretary-General of it. I remain calm and hope the United Nations will help us out of this situation. I stand for reconciliation between all the children of this country.
I am writing this letter secretly on bad paper. I have the honour to be, etc.
Patrice LUMUMBA,
Prime Minister

Source: Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, pp. 68-69.

 

Burundi – The fresh reports of torture from Amnesty and proof that it’s old habits from the regime in the country

Burundi Report Police

There was released a report on torture of citizens in Burundi in recent year from CSO Amnesty the 24th of August. This here has been described I will take the defining characters of this from that report, but also some older documentation to prove that this isn’t new actions from the Governmental and Security organizations in Burundi. In 2006 the Committee from International Service from Human Rights commented on the torture matters already then. After that I will look on what numbers and anti-torture project where the purpose was: “Effectively build capacity for sustainable support to victims of torture; and prevent future incidences of torture”. And the projects are telling from the USAID in the same period. USAID had also a monitoring period that ended in 2007 that gives some interesting insights to the methods of torture. United Nations has made a review of the situation when it comes to torture as well in 2014. So that Amnesty International is telling stories that everybody who cares about Human Rights should read all of the personal stories. I have taken the big picture from the report that was delivered from the organization on the 24th of August 2015. Which also shows to the works of the UN and OHCHR and describing the matters and sadness of how the police and other units treats its citizens who demonstrate against the government. It should be stopped and international community should do something about it. Though it’s an issue that is continuation from 2006 and I am sure earlier then that while in war, an CNDD-FDD promised to lead with the USAID projects to shun this activities, but certainly hasn’t with the reports released recently. Read under the quotes and outtakes from a set of reports and some of the pieces from Amnesty.

Reports from 2005 and so on:

“The Committee criticised the lack of a definition of torture in Burundian domestic legislation. The delegation admitted that while Burundi officially endorses the definition contained in the Convention, their criminal code does not define torture, nor is torture as such criminalised. In practice, torture is treated as an ‘aggravating circumstance’ and pursued on the basis of ‘infliction of bodily harm’” (…)”Both country rapporteurs underlined that the legislation prohibiting torture must not only cover physical torture (which is the case as long as torture is prosecuted under the category of ‘bodily harm’), but needs to extend to psychological and mental torture. The Committee drew the delegation’s attention to the obligation States have to initiate investigations into cases of torture. Mr Camara said that given the lack of a domestic legal basis, prosecutors in Burundi did not have a clear incentive to investigate cases of torture” (…)”the National Intelligence Service (NIS). It is responsible for the collection of date in order to protect the state security of Burundi. It can also carry out police functions and arrest people. According to the State report, the NIS is one of the main institutions involved in cases of torture. The Committee repeatedly expressed concern about this situation. Mr Mariño said the NIS seemed to have a dual mandate and be responsible for political oppression; it needed to be reformed, monitored and made accountable to the judiciary. Mr Camara asked if NIS officers could be sanctioned by the PPS; the delegation confirmed this with reference to ongoing cases. The delegation agreed that the NIS had too many prerogatives and specifically asked for recommendations on how to curb its power” (…)”In reference to the prohibition of the use of evidence obtained through torture, the delegation referred to a supreme court judgement which prohibits such evidence from being used in court. However, a Committee member pointed out that this particular decision is ambiguous since it says that “a confession is not proof in itself, but merely a piece of evidence that must be corroborated by other evidence”. The Committee felt this could be construed so that evidence extracted through torture could be used if supported by other evidence (Human Rights Series, 2006).

Turning to concrete cases, some Committee members asked about further information on a massacre which had taken place at Gatumba. The delegation responded by saying that it had issued a report which attributed the responsibility for the massacre to members of the armed movement PALIPEHUTU-FNL” (Human Rights Monitor Series, 2006).

What USAID has worked on a long while and had programs with:

“IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Search for Common Ground (SF CG), Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services (THARS), Ligue ITE KA, Association pour la Protection des Droits Humains et des Personnes Détenues (APROD H)

FUNDING PERIOD: March 2003–September 2005

AMOUNT: $1,700,000

PURPOSE: Effectively build capacity for sustainable support to victims of torture; and prevent future incidences of torture” (Victims of Torture Fund, USAID, 2005-2006).

Trauma healing: Eighteen Healing Memory Group activities (785 participants) held to provide psychological healing for victims. 372 victims of torture received psychological support and 567 received medical services; 289 referred to partners; 750 transported to medical facilities (Victims of Torture Fund, USAID, 2005-2006).

Social Reintegration: Twenty-seven victims associations created. Thirteen ongoing series of monthly healing sessions/retreats with 1,636 participants (Victims of Torture, USAID, 2005-2006)

Funding/Year 2002 2004 2005 Total
USD In:  Thousands of Dollars 1,200 500 1,200 2,900

(Victims of Torture, USAID, 2005-2006)

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USAID has continued to follow up the country and reports on Torture between October 2007 – September 2011. Here is their findings and what they have received of information on the matter: “Human rights. The project worked to strengthen the institutional capacity of civil society organizations, particularly those focused on women, to advocate for gender-based violence, victims of torture, and conflict management. By launching campaigns and engaging in effective discourse with the government and the media, civil society groups were able to open up about the sensitive and often dangerous nature of supporting human rights, which led to increased awareness and understanding” (…)”Victims of torture. In Burundi, torture continues to be practiced and victims have had little recourse because those in positions of authority, such as public security agents, presidential police, soldiers, local government officials, and rebel groups have all practiced torture without being held accountable for their actions. Through its activities, the project has been able to help Burundians open up a public dialogue and raise awareness about the problem of torture, a subject that over the years had become taboo in many parts of society” (…)”Victims of torture consortium. One organization cannot influence change alone, and working in the anti-corruption or human rights arena can be dangerous. Thus to strengthen advocacy against torture in Burundi, the project convened civil society organizations working in human rights and torture to start a dialogue on what is needed in this area and propose the idea of creating a consortium. The project worked via the consortium structure to coordinate these various and extensive activities. At subsequent meetings, the number of civil society organizations more than doubled and by the time the consortium, Consortium Action Contre la Torture (CACT), was incorporated it represented most of Burundian civil society working in human rights, with 26 organizations and government entities. The consortium, designed to coordinate advocacy for the eradication of torture in Burundi, identified priorities for reform when the consortium was first formed” (…)”Victims of torture grants. The project allocated 18 grants to civil society organizations in Year 2; eight of them provided medical and legal assistance to 453 victims of torture. The project provided medical, psychosocial healing, and legal and judicial assistance. The grants were provided to organizations with previous experience in this area, and they were able to work in cooperation with other grantees as well as in the consortium against torture. The most pressing need for a victim of torture is medical assistance. Many victims are debilitated or prevented from working due to the injuries, and others live with the physical scars and residual pain. The assistance consisted of providing victims medicine, hospitalization, and specialized care. Seven grantees provided medical assistance to victims in various provinces. One example of the medical services provided by grantees is the work done by ACAT, an organization that carried out medical services in 26 communes” (…)”In addition to being physically traumatic, torture is also emotionally and psychologically traumatic. Even if physical scars heal, there are lasting psychological effects. The project created a support group that fostered an atmosphere of empathy, affection, and security that victims greatly appreciated — especially significant because most victims never dared to speak about their experiences” (…)”In Year 4, project grantee ABDP-DRS advocated for the use of alternative sentencing to imprisonment in accordance with a law of 2009. By meeting with decision-makers, including prison authorities, police, and judges to present data from a survey, ABDP-DRS was able to provide information on alternative sentencing. It also organized prison visits so that police and judges could see the current conditions of the prisons to which they were sentencing perpetrators. Action Chrétien Contre la Torture (ACAT) also received a grant to continue advocating decision-makers and judiciary actors. ACAT equipped judges, judiciary police, and prison officers with information gained during site visits of detention centers in 11 provinces to evaluate the torture cases, living conditions for detainees, and the application of the penal code regarding torture” (Burundi Policy Final Reform, 2007).

When we see earlier what the UN has scaled on the State of torture in the State of the Burundi. The UN commented this on the issues that were at hand in 2014:

Legislative measures for the prevention of torture

  1. While noting that an absolute prohibition of torture is established in the Constitution, the Committee is concerned at the numerous shortcomings of the organization and command structure of the country’s security services, particularly the Burundian National Police (Police nationale du Burundi) and the National Intelligence Service (Service national de renseignement). These services are still governed by presidential decrees, whereas the Constitution provides that they be governed by the necessary legal framework. While noting that article 31 of the State party’s Criminal Code establishes that an order from a superior officer cannot be used as an argument by the defence in a case of torture, the Committee remains concerned about the effective implementation of that provision (arts. 2, 6 and 16)” (United Nations, 2014).

The United Nations continues with this:

“The absolute prohibition of torture” (…)”The State party should, as a matter of urgency, take steps to incorporate provisions into its Military Criminal Code that establish that acts of torture and ill-treatment committed by military personnel constitute an offence, that such offences are not subject to any statute of limitations and that the sentences for such offences are irreducible. The provisions to be incorporated into the Code should also establish appropriate penalties” (…) “The Committee is alarmed by credible, corroborative and persistent reports of a large number of acts of torture and extrajudicial killings committed by members of the Burundian National Police and the National Intelligence Service. It is concerned about the slow pace and limited scope of the investigations and judicial proceedings that have been opened in this connection, which would appear to corroborate claims that the perpetrators of these acts enjoy impunity. The Committee also finds it regrettable that no information about cases that have gone to trial or the outcome of those trials has been forthcoming. It is also concerned at the absence of protection for victims and witnesses, who are subject to reprisals (arts. 2, 4, 6, 7, 12 and 14)” (…)”The Committee is alarmed at the appalling conditions of detention in places of deprivation of liberty. It deplores, in particular: the high levels of prison overcrowding; the failure to separate male prisoners from female prisoners, adults from minors and persons awaiting trial from those already sentenced; the shortage of beds and sleeping space; the poor sanitary conditions; the dilapidated state of the facilities; prisoners’ inadequate and unbalanced diet; and the lack of health care. It further deplores the death of 263 inmates, inter-prisoner violence and the sexual violence against women and minors perpetrated by other inmates and guards. Lastly, the Committee is concerned about the continuing practice, in the State party, of detaining patients in hospital for non-payment of fees” (…)”While taking note of the fact that article 289 of the new Code of Criminal Procedure provides for the compensation of victims of torture, the Committee expresses its concern at the failure to apply this provision, in violation of article 14 of the Convention” (…) “The restrictions on the right of assembly and demonstration imposed by law enforcement bodies and reports of cases involving the violent suppression of demonstrations resulting in the excessive use of force by the authorities, for example during the protests of March 2014” (…)“The serious human rights violations perpetrated by a youth group (referred to as the Imbonerakure) with close ties to the Government, including: the harassment of political opponents; the disruption of public meetings, acts of intimidation, arbitrary arrests and arbitrary detention and other acts of violence; and the use of so-called “amicable” arrangements for settling disputes. The Committee is deeply concerned by reports that the Government is providing this group with weapons and training” (United Nations, 2014).

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Amnesty has in recent reports on how the torture has been from May 2015:

“Both the SNR and the Burundian National Police (PNB) are responsible for torture and other ill-treatment. Former detainees described being beaten with branches, iron bars, and police batons; and being stomped on, threatened with death, denied medical care, and verbally abused. In one particularly horrific case, a five-litre container full of sand was hung from a man’s testicles, causing enormous pain and swelling, and then the man was made to sit in a shallow layer of what he believed was battery acid, burning his skin severely” (…) “In and after the demonstration in April 2015 this has happen: “The police response to the demonstrations was marked by a pattern of serious violations, including of the right to life, freedom of association and peaceful assembly. They used excessive and disproportionate force, including lethal force, against protesters, at times shooting unarmed demonstrators running away from them. Even where children were present during demonstrations, police still failed to exercise restraint, and used tear gas and live ammunition” (…)”The cases of torture and other ill-treatment under SNR detention documented here all took place at the SNR compound near Bujumbura’s cathedral” (…)”In early June, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Burundi told Amnesty International they had documented nearly 50 cases of torture and other ill-treatment. On 7 July, the UN Secretary General’s report on the electoral observation mission in Burundi stated that “some 307 people have been arrested, including 14 minors. Most of those arrested have been subjected to torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by security officers (mainly police and intelligence agents)” (…)”According to information received from lawyers, when individuals previously held by the SNR have alleged torture before court, the evidence obtained under such circumstances did not appear to have been declared invalid in spite of clear provisions in the Burundian Code of Criminal Procedure. To date, there is no investigation and nobody has been arrested for torture at the SNR” (…) “However, the Burundian Code of Criminal Procedure makes provision for a detainee to remain silent if his lawyer is not present and for a detainee to communicate freely with his lawyer.16 A leading Burundian human rights organization, the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained People (APRODH), is no longer granted access to the SNR’s compound. At least one detainee says that he signed a document under duress” (…)”A man held at the SNR was also told by other detainees that the Imbonerakure had given information to the police for their capture” (…)”several testimonies of torture and other ill-treatment at a place known as Chez Ndadaye in Bujumbura. According to a policeman and UN human rights monitors, Chez Ndadaye is an operational command centre for the police.36 It is known as Chez Ndadaye because the presidential palace that housed President Melchior Ndadaye, the country’s first democratically elected president and first Hutu president, once stood there” (…)”According to the first policeman and two victims, demonstrators were not kept overnight at Chez Ndadaye, but were beaten there before being transferred to the judicial police and/or police stations” (…)”The OHCHR carried out a planned visit to Chez Ndadaye on 12 June 2015, but did not observe any torture or beatings at the time” (…)”One policeman told Amnesty International some policemen are frustrated by the situation. He explained: “Several policemen are not happy about what takes place at Chez Ndadaye and have complained to their superiors. Most of the perpetrators are those who were previously in the bush (ex-FDD). They beat protestors. Maybe around 10 people came through Chez Ndadaye every day. Police used their batons and electric wires to beat them. They’d say ‘you who are against Nkurunziza, you are wasting your time, he’ll be president forever’,” (Amnesty, 2015).

Aftermath:

I don’t really want to comment more on the issues. Because the reports on reports are really telling its own tale, I will not add much on it. Then it’s a sad story of real men and woman who is scared and hurt for their position in society. That the UN, USAID, OHCHR and Amnesty reports from 2006-2015 is telling a vivid stories and painful facts. Too many victims of the government and police of Burundi, they all deserve a voice, they all deserve justice and a society where this wouldn’t happen. Instead the Police and Government of Burundi is going after their own people without prosecution and trial. Putting them in shackles, pushing them in cells and hurting them in places like Chez Ndadaye in Bujumbura and that is not the only house and police institution that is being used in a vile place. So no matter what people are being unjustified threaten and punished by the police and security forces in Burundi. There should be something the world could do to stop this systematic and unjust ways. Not just in writing and councils reviews of the United Nations, but in actual forum that can change the President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and the regime of the country. That is the issue and it’s not easy especially with the ways that the president got “elected” into the third term. Pierre Nkurunziza will always be remembered in a unique way and essentially with the shunned sworn-in celebration in mid-August 2015. An also for the reports of torture that the police and security organizations are doing as well in his presidency as well, which isn’t a beautiful view. Peace.

Reference:

AFR 16/2298/2015 – ‘“JUST TELL ME WHAT TO CONFESS TO”, TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT BY BURUNDI’S POLICE AND INTELLIGENCE SERVICE SINCE APRIL 2015’ (24.08.2015) – Amnesty International

CAT/C/BDI/CO/2 – ‘Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Burundi’, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee on Torture (12.12.2014) – United Nations

Human Rights Monitor Series – ‘COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE 37TH SESSION BURUNDI, INITIAL REPORT’ (2006), International Service for Human Rights

‘BURUNDI UNDER REVIEW BY UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW: RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING JUSTICE MATTERS’, Commonwealth Human Rights Intiative

USAID – ‘BURUNDI POLICY REFORM FINAL REPORT October 2007 – September 2011 (12.09.2011) – This publication was produced for review by the United States Agency for International Development. It was prepared by Chemonics International.

USAID – ‘VICTIMS OF TORTURE FUND PORTFOLIO SYNOPSIS 2005–2006’, Victims of Torture Fund, U.S. Agency for International Development

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