The Burundian people are suffering the economic and humanitarian consequences of this situation, and the UN is seeking to increase its efforts to meet the needs of the population.
NEW YORK, United States of America, November 9, 2016 – The Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for Conflict Prevention (including Burundi), Jamal Benomar, briefed the Security Council today on his recent visit to Burundi and the region regarding the implementation of Security Council resolution 2303 [29 July 2016]. Below is his statement following the briefing:
I just briefed the Security Council on the various meetings I held with the Government and other stakeholders during my visit to Burundi, as well as with the facilitator of the EAC-led dialogue, former President Benjamin Mkapa, in Dar es Salaam.
I told the Council that I listened carefully to the views and concerns of the Burundian Government in respect to resolution 2303, particularly regarding the proposed deployment of unarmed UN police officers.
Our discussions were constructive and I’m confident that with continuous engagement and political will, we will find common ground as a basis for moving forward with the implementation of the resolution.
I told the Council that I believe we need a new compact between the Government of Burundi and the international community, with both sides engaging in a constructive effort to promote peace and stability, in full respect of Burundi’s sovereignty.
The Burundian people are suffering the economic and humanitarian consequences of this situation, and the UN is seeking to increase its efforts to meet the needs of the population. But in order to address the many implications of this crisis in the long-term, its root causes must be tackled – a Burundian-led political process and a genuine and inclusive dialogue are urgently needed.
I look forward to continued engagement with the Burundian Government and other stakeholders in order to reach consensus on the steps needed to move the country forward.
Burundi has been in turmoil ever since the current President Pierre Nkurunziza decided that himself we’re more important than the nation he was running. His power and position we’re more the key needed in his equation. Nkurunziza used the Supreme Court and Parliament to get a third term and a second election in his favour as Opposition didn’t even turn out. After that the oppressive behaviour and harassment has been genuine, as the Police and Imbonerakure has been used to assassinate, kill, detain and torture the ones who doesn’t follow the party line of Nkurunziza.
After this the UN has dropped a resolution, had a peace-talks designated from the East African Community (EAC) and H.E. Benjamin Mpaka, but that hasn’t gone anywhere as the little Police Force from the UN is powerless, while the Peace-Talks haven’t even had all parties that needed to compromise as the Nkurunziza party has banned and dislodged them. So the Central Government does what it can to control them by force and intimidation.
Because of these violations and the fear of spreading information and Intel about it the press, the government has a month after the release of the UN Report done this: “A letter signed by Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe said Pablo de Greiff of Colombia, Christof Heyns of South Africa, and Maya Sahli-Fadel of Algeria were no longer welcome in Burundi” (BBC News, 2016). So the Burundian Authorities didn’t like the effect of them there and therefore acted with silencing them like they are doing with civil society and citizens already. Now, not letting people in from the UN and as the UN mandate to make sure the Burundian Government acts righteous towards own citizens, is a crime in the eyes of Burundian Authorities, therefore, I had to look through this report. A government cannot cry that much and cry foul over nothing. Here is what I see as key aspects of it.
Therefor days after the UN Experts released a report on Human Rights violations these we’re the words:
“The UN experts collected unverified information and did not mention sources for their report’s credibility”, deplores Martin Nivyabandi, the Minister of National Solidarity, Gender and Human Rights. He said that the UN experts toured Burundi and saw plenty of positive work but they didn’t mention anywhere the progress observed on the ground. “During their stay in Burundi, the UN experts met different officials of Public institutions involved in the Human Rights, but unfortunately, the report did not take into consideration improvements on the ground. This UN investigation is a political report rather than being technical”, the Minister said” (…) “In a statement issued on 22 September, the ruling party rejects the allegations of the UN report. «CNDD-FDD rejects unverified accusations and dangerously biased contained in that report, apparently the result of a vicious campaign against the regime, the manipulation of public opinion, which is in line with the destructive business”, said Evariste Ndayishimiye, Secretary General of the ruling party. (Uwimana, 2016).
If you would expect that the Burundian Government would have praised a UN Report on Human Rights Violations than you’re a fool. No Government would ever like to slap on the wrist and then answered with sweet words of joy. No, the Burundian Authorities answered the way you should expect that they want the reports and injustices put under rug. They don’t want the systematic repression of citizens by any means.
To start with a Key Ingredient to the Burundian state:
“The citizens of Burundi are not helped by friends and neighbours of Burundi who shield the Government from its national and international human rights obligations. All countries, but particularly those who have close relations with Burundi, and especially those that have played an historically important role, including in the process leading to the Arusha Agreement, should exercise their good offices, unambiguously, in defence of the human rights of the citizens of Burundi” (UN HRC, P: 23, 2016)
How Burundian Government answered the UN HRC mission:
“Several government officials said they were not in a position to provide information, but would do so in writing afterwards. By letter dated 19 July 2016, the experts requested specific questions to the Government, with a follow-up dated 1 September 2016. The last letter also offered technical capacity to document the alleged mass graves. Regrettably, no response was received until the day when the report was completed. The response consisted in a blanket denial of all violations” (UN HRC, P: 4, 2016).
Estimated Killings and Sexual Violence:
“According to some estimates more than one thousand people have been killed as part of the crisis. Thousands have reportedly been tortured, unknown numbers of women victims of various forms of sexual crimes, hundreds of people disappeared, and thousands illegally detained” (…) “No official figures of the number of people killed during the crisis are available, and the system of accountability is virtually non-existent. OHCHR has informed UNIIB that, as of 30 August 2016, it has verified 564 cases of executions since 26 April 2015. Given the constraints under which OHCHR operate this is clearly a conservative estimate” (…) “UNIIB received first-hand information confirming the involvement of the Imbonerakure in murders of perceived opposition sympathizers. Thus, a former member of the Imbonerakure testified to UNIIB that he had participated in the killing of 20 individuals in Bujumbura, including two Imbonerakure who had warned persons that there were plans to execute them. The witness added that the Imbonerakure were expected to arrest all those who opposed the third mandate, were against the President, or who did not collaborate with the CNDD-FDD. The bodies of those executed in the cases mentioned were reportedly placed in bags, transported across the Ruzizi River using makeshift boats, and buried in the Democratic Republic of the Congo” (…) “Allegations of mass burials of those executed during these incidents have been widely reported. Initial satellite imagery suggests that bodies may have been buried in mass graves during this period, including in Bujumbura (in Kanyosha and Mpanda) and Bubanza. UNIIB received testimony corroborating the existence of mass graves. Reported intimidation by members of the Imbonerakure and SNR of persons in possession of information on this topic give further credibility to the testimony” (…) “Apparent examples of tit-for-tat targeted assassinations within the Army – particularly threatening to the integration of the armed forces – include the killings of several senior Army officers belonging either to the pre-Arusha Agreement Burundian Armed Forces (ex-FAB) or to the former rebel group “Armed Political Parties and Movements” (ex-PMPA) and the apparent retaliatory killings of alleged supporters of the regime within the forces. Among the most emblematic examples are the killings of General Adolphe Nshimirimana on 2 August 2015; General Karakuza on 25 April 2016; and Colonel Darius Ikurakure on 22 March 2016. The latter was shot dead in the compound of the headquarters of the Army Joint Staff” (…) “In a number of cases documented by UNIIB, the victims were sexually mutilated. For instance, a woman in Cibitoke, in August 2015, was sexually mutilated by Imbonerakure who were searching for her husband. She stated that when they did not find him, they tied her hands behind her back and hit her. “They put their hands inside my vagina until the uterus came out. I was left alone bleeding, screaming. The neighbours came out and they tried to put my uterus back in place.” (UN HRC, P: 7-8 + 10, 2016).
“Marie-Claudette Kwizera, Treasurer of the CSO Ligue ITEKA was allegedly arrested on 10 December 2015 by the SNR and has not been seen since. More recently, on 22 July 2016, Jean Birgimana, journalist at Iwaku newspaper, was also allegedly arrested by the SNR and is missing since then” (UN HRC, P: 9, 2016).
“Arbitrary arrests and detention have been a cornerstone of the repression in Burundi and have opened the way for a wide range of other human rights violations. Arbitrary arrests and detention surged after 26 April 2015, targeting individuals demonstrating against the third term. After the coup attempt of May 2015, the authorities intensified the repression. SNR, PNB, the Imbonerakure and FDN reportedly tracked down opponents, notably through cordon and search operations and raids in so-called opposition neighbourhoods of Bujumbura” (…) “Prison overcrowding is alarming with a 300 per cent occupancy rate in some prisons. The Mpimba prison in Bujumbura, which the UNIIB team visited, was built to house 800 prisoners; instead there were 3,800 detainees present” (…) “Although the Prosecutor General of the Republic has formally denied the existence of unacknowledged places of detention, UNIIB concludes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Security Forces and Imbonerakure have established several such sites” (UN HRC, P: 11-12, 2016).
Torture and Harrasment:
“UNIIB conducted 65 interviews with witnesses and/or victims of torture or ill-treatment. Elements of the SNR, the PNB, the Imbonerakure and, to a lesser extent, the FDN, are consistently identified as the perpetrators, and some individuals, including senior figures of the security apparatus, have been repeatedly cited” (UN HRC, P: 9, 2016). “Independent journalists have been subjected to harassment, death threats, arrests, torture, and the closure of their offices and/or destruction of their equipment” (…) ”As with the other violations in this report the victims are not only those outside Government. There is also no room for dissenting positions within government circles or the ruling party” (UN HRC, P: 14, 2016).
If you don’t see the systemic oppression, harassment and killings of citizens inside here and understand the behaviour of Burundian Government by now, then you’re blind by the arrogance of President Pierre Nkurunziza.
The Burundian Government that has after the banning of UN Experts, has decided to leave the ICC; while the UN Report on Human Rights Violations clearly shows through the process of collecting evidence that the Central Government through their Security Organizations and Youth Party Imbonerakure has violated and oppressed fellow citizens to keep power for their current President. This is why it’s red-hot and been attacked as a political document from the CNDD-FDD as they doesn’t want to hear about their killings and torture to be in charge.
We can just know that this is estimated killings, torture and harassments of citizens, the Central Government of Burundi will never in their mind release the systematic violence against their own citizens to the world. That will only happen when the shadow of this regime is gone. Because they do not want the world know about their misgivings and their acts against their own. Peace.
BBC News – ‘Burundi bars UN investigators over report on human rights abuses’ (11.10.2016) link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-37614790
UN Human Rights Council – ‘Report of the United Nations Independent Investigation on Burundi (UNIIB) established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-24/1’ (20.09.2016) – A/HRC/33/37
Uwimana, Diane – ‘Bujumbura dismisses UN report on Burundi as “political”’ (23.09.2016) link: http://www.iwacu-burundi.org/englishnews/bujumbura-dismisses-un-report-on-burundi-as-political/
“Why is UN not paying much attention to member states that are clearly sliding into turmoil and crisis and instead is majorly involved in the after effects of Humanitarian assistance. It doesn’t make sense. We can’t wait until it’s too.” – Francis Mwijukye [35th Inter Parliamentary Union- Geneva: High level United Nations Management committee Meeting on Development assistance, Humanitarian assistance, peace keeping operations and Mormative treaty related knowledge, 26.10.2016]
We are living in a brave new world where the world order is switching… its twists and turns, the morning dew disappears and the sun kisses the earth yet again. The last few days the world has changed. Because Nations and States have made decisions that matters; they are not only talking, but now they are acting on it.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) of The Hague is under fire. After Burundi, South Africa and Gambia are thinking of pulling out of the International Court that access the genocides and crimes against humanity.
With the escalated conflicts, the stories of lives doing whatever they can flee nations, this is happening from the internal conflict inside Burundi, Burundians refugees are now in Tanzania, Rwanda and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This because the President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to stay in power for a third term; when the Constitution of Burundi said the Executive only could have two!
The same with the internal fighting between SPLM/A VS. SPLM/A-IO in South Sudan; where there is battle of power between President Salva Kiir and former FVP Dr. Riek Machar. Because of the conflict in South Sudan the civilian refugees have fled to Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia. Now MONUSCO got SPLM/A-IO and Dr. Machar from the DRC to Khartoum earlier this year.
In Kenya this is happening: while the Somali Refugees are now being sent home from Kenya under the command of the government there. This happening while opposition in all of the countries mentioned has optionally torturing, arresting, detaining and even harassing them if needed be. The Kenyan Government using the fear of Al-Shabaab to send the refugees away and also hustle more donor-funding from the United States. That happens because the Jubilee apparently didn’t’ earn enough coins on NYS, Eurobonds or whatever scheme they had in play at the time.
In this New World order that is arranged while the Government are using their Security Organizations to silence opposition. While the Nation with the African Union (AU) Headquarters and are the leader of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Ethiopian Government even uses helicopters, artillery and soldiers to kill civilians in the regions of Amhara and Oromo people. This is a Nation who has soldiers in Peacekeeping mission all around the Continent, but using all kind of force to oppress their own.
So in this place and time with more totalitarian regimes, with more leaders not leaving offices and with less political freedom; the International Justice is winding down. The rule of law internationally right now is losing its power, while the United Nation’s negations and diplomatic missions like the Inter-Burundian Dialogue under former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mpaka hasn’t gone anywhere. While the dialogue between UN’s own Edem Kodjo hasn’t created anything resembling a General Election run by the CENI in the DRC. That is because President Joseph Kabila has no plan of leaving office without using force on his own. This is happening while the bloodshed continues in the Kivu’s, while the MONUSCO and FARDC watching it in silence. ADF-NALU and the Mayi-Mayi continues as well together with the Ex-FARDC Gen. Muhindo Akili Mundos has also blood on his hands. This is happening while the Rwandan State still can export high-grade minerals that they cannot even produce or has mines to extract on their soil. This has been happening since the first war in the late 1990s.
So the New World Order is more of the same… the same kind of violence, the other change is the new brave leaders who defy the International Order. They don’t want to follow it when they feel it is unfair. United Nations (UN) might be next or the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the World Health Organization (WHO). As they might respect the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the World Bank (World Bank) because they need their financial stability or the financial stimulus that backs the budgets and aspects the government needs to pay their elites, businesses and whatever it takes to keep the regimes a-float.
This is the grand issues… the human rights violations, killings and detentions… so the Presidents and their Administrations are now afraid of the ICC. They are worried that their actions be served by the Court and they have to answer for their crimes. Doesn’t matter if this court exists or not; the UN should put up Tribunals after the Internal Conflicts like they done in the past. Than it is not direct prosecutions or charges that the ICC has put on Executives or any in the inner-circle of ruling regimes as they know their using illegal forces to silence their people and citizens. Though the feelings from African Nations that they are feeling threaten by the ICC and their actions as they are not going-in on Europeans or Americans in general, while African Generals and Politicians are hand-picked.
I’m just waiting for the honourable nations of Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Togo, Guinea, and Equatorial Guinea, and so on… There are more that will make decisions to leave, as even Cote d’Ivoire might revoke their place.
There are fears on the horizon, the ICC is losing its standing, the international community better listen as the men who are greedy on power and resources take it in these days by any means and hope to get away with it, while their people suffer. The only differences at our time are that information is not forgotten or not told. It’s there for those who listen; time to consider and rethink the World Order and where we want to be. Peace.
OTTAWA, Canada, October 24, 2016 – The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:
“Canada is deeply troubled by South Africa’s announcement that it has submitted a notice of withdrawal from the International Criminal Court to the United Nations Secretary-General.
South Africa played an important role in the development of the court, and we recognize its past efforts to end impunity for the most serious international crimes. We also remember the words of Nelson Mandela in 1998, when South Africa joined the court:
Our own continent has suffered enough horrors emanating from the inhumanity of human beings towards human beings. Who knows, many of these might not have occurred, or at least been minimized, had there been an effectively functioning International Criminal Court.
All victims, including African victims, have a right to justice. The ongoing contributions of African states in support of the court are invaluable to make this justice a reality.
That steadfast support is more important than ever today; we urge South Africa to reconsider. The International Criminal Court cannot be abandoned because it may not be perfect. Our answer must rather be to improve and strengthen it.
We must not forget the thousands of children, women and men who have been victims of unimaginable atrocities and for whom the International Criminal Court, as a court of last resort, offers the only hope of justice.”
The EU and its Member States remain staunch supporters of the ICC and are committed to full co-operation on the prevention of serious crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the Court.
BRUSSELS, Belgium, October 24, 2016 – The European Union deeply regrets the Republic of South Africa’s decision to initiate its withdrawal from the Rome Statute. We equally note with deep concern that Burundi has formalised steps to withdraw from the Rome Statute. Until now, no State has ever withdrawn from the Rome Statute.
South Africa played a significant role in the establishment of the ICC and was one of the first signatories of the Rome Statue. We will continue to engage with both countries on how they can remain partners to the Rome Statute.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a key institution to assist citizens achieve justice when confronted with the most serious crimes, where this is not possible at the national level. A majority of African situations were submitted by the national authorities concerned. The Court is also involved in situations all over the world.
We all have a shared interest in strengthening the rule of law and working together with the ICC, including along the lines suggested by the President of the Rome Statute’s Assembly of States Parties.
The EU and its Member States remain staunch supporters of the ICC and are committed to full co-operation on the prevention of serious crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the Court. Where concerns are raised within the framework of the Rome Statute, we remain open for constructive discussion.