The UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was set up in 1995.
GENEVA, Switzerland, March 5, 2019 – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet today announced, with deep regret, that the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was closed down on Thursday 28 February at the insistence of the Government.
“It is with deep regret that we have had to close our office in Burundi after a 23-year presence in the country,” Bachelet said. “Since the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was established in 1995, for many years we worked with the Government on peacebuilding, security sector reform, justice sector reform and helped build institutional and civil society capacity on a whole host of human rights issues.”
The UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was set up in 1995, in the context of massive human rights violations perpetrated in the country following the assassination of then President Melchior Ndadaye. The Office helped ensure the incorporation of a human rights dimension to the implementation of the Arusha Agreement, which was the bedrock of the country’s stability for many years. The Office played a leading role in the establishment of the independent National Commission on Human Rights, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in legislative reforms and in the emergence of strong civil society organizations.
“Unfortunately, many of these human rights gains have been seriously jeopardized since 2015,” Bachelet said.
In October 2016, the Government – in reaction to the report by the UN Independent Investigation in Burundi established by the UN Human Rights Council – suspended all cooperation with the Office in Burundi.
“This meant that UN human rights staff were severely hampered in their ability to look into allegations of violations,” the High Commissioner said. Nonetheless, the UN Human Rights Office, in Burundi itself and at its Geneva headquarters, has continued to receive allegations of human rights violations and abuses.
Two years after the suspension of cooperation, on 5 December 2018, the Government requested the closure of the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi, explaining that the country had made sufficient progress in putting in place national mechanisms for the protection of human rights, so the existence of the Office was no longer justified.
“Our reports on the human rights situation in Burundi have always been developed in a constructive spirit, intended to support the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. But I am disappointed by Burundi’s lack of cooperation in recent years with UN human rights mechanisms – which even went so far as to include threats to prosecute members of the independent international Commission of Inquiry established by the UN Human Rights Council,” High Commissioner Bachelet said.
Bachelet paid tribute to the many human rights defenders and civil society actors in Burundi who have worked with inspiring dedication, perseverance, courage and expertise through many political and social crises in the country, while noting with concern that in recent years, many of them have been detained or forced into exile.
“Even as our Office in Burundi closes, we will continue to explore other ways to work to shed light on human rights concerns and support the advocacy, promotion and protection of human rights in the country,” she said.
“The Government has expressed its readiness to work with UN Human Rights Office after the closure of our Country Office and we stand ready to engage constructively. I also call on the Government of Burundi to cooperate with all relevant UN human rights mechanisms, including UN independent experts and human rights treaty bodies.”
“Voting is not a right. It is a method used to determine which politician was most able to brainwash you.” – Dennis E. Adonis
Let’s be clear, the Burundian government, the CNDD-FDD Party and President Pierre Nkurunziza are preparing for the General Election in 2020. This has been in the works since the Third Term was accepted by the Constitutional Court on the 5th May 2015. So, that the President could run for his third term, even as it was questionable considering the Arusha Agreement of 2000 and the Constitution. Still, the CNDD-FDD and President went through it and the crisis has persisted since.
We know, that the state is not backing down, as the state has collected a “volunteer” tax as a preparations for the General Elections in 2020. In some instances even stopping students from enrolling if they are not paying the 2020 fee. There even businesses and others who has been sanctioned for not paying the fare to the state. Therefore, the state is steady preparing and ensuring to be paid-in-full.
However, this isn’t the only step to continue the reign of Nkurunziza, as the state held a Referendum on the 21st May 2018, which voted with a majority of 73%. The Referendum on that day have permitted and secured the President the legality and eligibility to reign until 2034. Where the Presidential Terms also goes from 5 years until 7 year long terms. This is why, the President can run for two more 7 year terms. That is clearly with intention of letting Pierre run a bit longer.
Therefore, even as the African Union (AU) commend Nkurunziza for not standing in 2020. I have a hard time believing it. Because, everything that has happen since 2015 has been about Nkrunziza and him centralizing all power. That the President has stalled the Inclusive Inter-Burundian Dialogue and so on. There is no action, which gives a proper hope.
Even if Agathon Rwasa gets his own party and gets to run. He will be the main challenger of Nkurunziza is 2020, but he will still not be capable to topple the regime. Unless, they are trying to pull a leg and shift focus, but get him to appoint fellow cronies Nkrunziza trusts. Since, there are no sign of less violence, killings, disappearances and people fleeing into exile. There are no reconciliation or no changes made, which are making things hopeful.
The state has already made laws, which are ethnically based, where NGOs have to hire a set amount of one group, and if not they have to close. Which some NGOs have done as a result, also they have to produce more papers and prove their liabilities and if they stop working there, it can all be ceased by the state. That is how they work. The Burundian government have really shown their despicable face to world.
Not only going after the former FNL and other people who questions the CNDD-FDD, but they are really using the security organizations and the Imbonekura (Party Youth-Wing) to silence the ones speaking up against the regime. This the true scare and reality of who Nkurunziza is.
He might smile and grin wisely in propaganda photos leaked online. But his acts of his government is sinister. The reign and misuse of power is extreme. The state are monitoring everything and ensuring everyone is following party line. That is why I have a hard time believing Nkurunziza would step down and give it up. He has the juicy job and eating on the state. He even moved the political capital to Gitega, because he could. That is the sort of President he is. Therefore, no reasons for him to stop. Unless, he wants to save face, but then he might get into trouble as all the skeletons might haunt him. Peace.
FYI: To end with the quote from the headline. The only reason why I say Jesus returns prematurely, is that we as a world has to many projects and to many things undone. That we should have fixed before he returns. Like more democratically elected persons and not selected elites. We should ensure all people have running tap-water in their homes, electricity, work and food in the belly. As long as that is not there. Than, Jesus has come back to early, because we as humanity couldn’t even fix the basics before he came. Therefore, Nkurunziza will surely run again before Jesus returns. Peace II.