The Burundian crisis as described by the United Nations and a report delivered to the United Security Council on the 23rd February 2017. This is the most recent compiled report on the situation of safety, human rights and peaceful work in the East African republic. Where the President Pierre Nkurunziza, decided to run for a third term, even as the constitution after the Arusha Peace Agreement, was set to be possible to have two terms.
So we are in March 2017, as the crisis has been going on since 2015. The Burundian government have continued to assassinated, detained and intimidated their population, as much they have also created a political climate where the Nkurunziza regime is hostile to foreign interference, as well as the toil of the crisis, also creates a vacuum in economic and fiscal funds for the state.
All of this is reports made to the United Nations and found by the UN Human Rights Observation Group that been stationed in Bujumbura and had to request and notify the government of their arrival. The Government are keeping their hands more tight and controlling as they want to supervise even the experts from the UN. Therefore the report has been criticised by Burundian government as expected. Because who would like to have these sorts of allegations and reports about their government. When you put the Burundian government acts together you can see a systematic oppression of the citizens of the republic. That is not a look any government want to be put in the public space, but this sort of aggressive police state and use of political youth wing to oppress the people. Just take a look!
“Nearly two years have passed since the beginning of the political crisis in Burundi, which was sparked by the decision of the ruling party, Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie — Forces pour la défense de la démocratie (CNDDFDD), to support President Pierre Nkurunziza ’s candidacy for a third term. Since then, the political impasse has only deepened. Political space has been narrowed further through repression. In lieu of meaningful dialogue, the exchange of political views, primarily in the form of accusations and counter -accusations, is taking place across social media and in public communiqués. I n a new development, President Nkurunziza suggested in a statement at the end of 2016 that he might seek a fourth term in office “if the Burundian people decide to change the Constitution according to their wishes” (UNSC, P: 1, 2017).
Violations of the State:
“While the Government insists that the situation in the country has normalized, political opposition and civil society leaders continue to appeal for urgent international action to avert the risk of further deterioration, widespread violence and mass atrocities. Despite a decline in overt violence and fewer incidences of armed confrontation, reports of human rights violations and abuses continue, including killings, enforced disappearances, gender -based violence, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and ill -treatment, along with the discovery of unidentified bodies. The allegations of more than 200 cases of enforce d disappearance since October 2016 are of particular concern. From April 2015 to 31 December 2016, OHCHR documented 593 violations of the right to life, and hundreds of people continue to be arrested every month” (…) “Many Burundians live in fear as a result of widespread repression and increasing intimidation by the Imbonerakure, the ruling party’s youth wing. There are also unconfirmed reports of attacks and human rights abuses committed against Government supporters and security forces” (UNSC, P: 2, 2017).
Establish a new Constitution in violation of the Arusha Peace Agreement:
“On 16 November 2016, the Council of Ministers approved the establishment of a constitutional review commission mandated to study amendments to the Constitution. The commission is reportedly tasked with analysing articles of the Constitution to be amended for Government consideration and, with the latter’s agreement, proposing an amended draft Constitution. It further stated that the Council’s decision had been informed by: (a) recommendations on constitutional amendments contained in reports of the National Independent Electoral Commission, the National Independent Human Rights Commission and CNDI; (b) the resolution adopted at the 11 October meeting of political parties and leaders; and (c) the need to harmonize certain articles with EAC law. Opposition political parties and civil society criticized the Council’s decision, warning that any deliberate violation of the Constitution and the Arusha Agreement would only worsen the current political crisis” (UNSC, P: 3, 2017).
“The security situation remains fragile. While incidents of overt violence and clashes between armed groups and Government security and defence forces had ebbed for some time, daily allegations of arbitrary arrest, ill -treatment, torture and enforced disappearance, along with the discovery of bodies, continue to be reported” (…) “The Imbonerakure reportedly also routinely participate in joint operations with the police and intelligence services and are reported to have been implicated in numerous cases of arbitrary arres t and disappearance, ill-treatment, killings and some cases of sexual violence” (UNSC, P: 5, 2017).
Burundian and Rwandan Relations:
“Relations between Burundi and Rwanda remain tense. Throughout the reporting period, isolated border incidents, as well as trade and movement restrictions, were witnessed. On 29 July, the Council of Ministers decided to stop the export of all food products to neighbouring countries, repo rtedly in response to insufficient domestic production. On 23 August, the East African Legislative Assembly decided to investigate issues affecting trade and free movement of citizens between Burundi and Rwanda. Burundian security forces frequently arrested individuals travelling to and from Rwanda, as well as the United Republic of Tanzania” (UNSC, P: 6, 2017).
“Since the beginning of the crisis, political figures have used inflammatory and hate-filled language in speeches, on social media, in communiqués and in the press, calling on the population to “protect” the country against so-called traitors and plotters allegedly trying to destabilize Burundi. Rhetoric has included incitement to violence, as well as attacks on the opposition and against civil society, while neighbouring countries have been accused of involvement in attempted assassinations” (UNSC, P: 9, 2017).
Effects of the Crisis:
“There has been a four-fold increase in the number of people who are food insecure — from 730,000 to 3 million — owing to the rising prices of basic food items, the seasonal rain deficit during the 2016 agricultural season, chronic poverty and poor harvests. According to the World Health Organization, some 8.2 million Burundians (73 per cent of the total population) were affected by malaria in 2016; 3,826 died. The number of internally displaced persons is estimated at 170,000, while the number of spontaneous returnees identified so far in some targeted provinces is approximately 37,000. The monthly rate of arrival of refugees in Neighbouring countries from August to October 2016 doubled from previous months, and the increasing trend was confirmed in the first weeks of 2017. As of early February 2017, the number of Burundians who had fled the country since April 2015 stood at 387,000” (UNSC, P: 10, 2017).
Human Rights Observers:
“As of February 2017, only 45 African Union human rights observers, 32 of whom are funded through catalytic funding provided by the Peacebuilding Fund, have been deployed to Burundi. Twenty-three African Union military experts have been deployed; however, owing to a scheduled rotation, there were only 10 African Union military experts in the country at the time of reporting. Despite months of negotiations, the Government has yet to sign a memorandum of understanding guiding the African Union deployment in Burundi” (UNSC, P: 12, 2017). “The Office of the Special Adviser and OHCHR are not alone in experiencing Government restrictions. Some members of the United Nations country team have been affected by the Government’s decision to require 10 days’ notification ahead of any in-country travel. There have been delays in the processing of visas, and some local staff have faced intimidation, including instances of arbitrary arrest” (UNSC, P: 13, 2017).
If you read this you couldn’t be shocked as the reports of this actions has been in media, but when you collect them, you can see the evidence of the systematic oppression of the people. This is the reason for the refugees and the hard-hitting report that we’re delivered this February. People should know what is happening in Burundi and not let it pass-by all the other scandals and the atrocities happening in the world today. Peace.
United Nations Security Council – ‘Report of the Secretary-General on Burundi’ (23.02.2017)
The newest report from Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) together with United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) dropped a report about Human Rights violations this October. These shows the violations of human rights, killings and rapes that have happen over a certain time period. The reports themselves say enough about the extent of how the Government and their Security Organizations does, plus the guerrilla warfare and the results of that in the DRC.
The reports are vivid and direct from political prisoners to rape incidence… the words themselves of what they did to the civilians there. Take a look!
“Initiatives and public advocacy conducted by the Congolese authorities, with the support of the international community, have resulted in the conviction of State agents for sexual violence in conflict in at least 231 cases, during the period under review. Also, according to information made available to the UNJHRO, at least 447 soldiers of the Congolese National Army (Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo – FARDC) and 155 agents of the Congolese National Police (Police nationale congolaise – PNC) have been convicted for acts constituting human rights violations during the period under analysis. Despite the remarkable efforts made and considering the structural and financial difficulties facing the judicial system, this is a very low number compared to the 4,032 human rights violations committed by State agents. This, in addition to other factors, also shows that lack of effective prosecution contributes to the commission of other violations” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: iv, 2016).
Conflict Areas of Congo:
“During the reporting period, the six provinces affected by the conflict in eastern DRC, namely Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, Haut-Uélé, Bas-Uélé and Tshopo provinces registered the highest numbers of 5 human rights violations and abuses, which were mainly committed by combatants of more than 30 different armed groups. Between 1 January 2014 and end of March 2016, among the armed groups, the combatants of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) committed the largest number of abuses (685), followed by the Front for Patriotic Resistance in Ituri (FRPI) (662) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) (424). These abuses were mainly committed during attacks launched on villages, in a bid to control territories rich in natural resources or in reprisal against some individuals suspected of cooperating with parties to the conflict” (…) “. State actors have also committed human rights violations in eastern DRC, in particular FARDC soldiers and PNC agents. These State actors, mainly FARDC soldiers, committed human rights violations or violations of international humanitarian law during military operations against armed groups” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P:4-5, 2016).
“In the current electoral context, concern has been expressed in relation to actions taken by the judiciary and viewed as Government interference in the justice system. For example, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders expressed concern about “the arbitrary detention of three human rights defenders, Mr Fred Bauma Winga, Mr Christopher Ngoy Mutamba and Mr Yves Makwambala, which seem to be related to their legitimate and peaceful human rights activities” as well as “allegations of illegal obtaining of evidence, procedural flaws and unfair trials”. The Special Rapporteur further “voiced his concern at the difficult situation in which human rights defenders exercise their right to freedom of association, of peaceful assembly, of opinion and expression, in the DRC” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P:9, 2016).
“Weaknesses in the penitentiary system have been raised on multiple occasions during 2015 Etats généraux de la justice, and identified as a major obstacle to the fight against impunity. The UNJHRO has documented the escape of 2,604 people from detention centres in 2014 and 201526. Mass escapes take place on a regular basis throughout the countr” (…) “One illustrating example is the mass escape of 18 October 2014 of 326 out of the 433 detainees (130 condemned persons and 196 people in preventive detention) from the prison of Butembo, North Kivu province, following an attack on the prison by four men armed with AK-47 trying to free nine detained soldiers who turned out to be absent from the prison. To this day, only about a hundred of those escaped persons have been found” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: 10, 2016).
“From 1 October to 31 December 2014, at least 237 people – including 65 women and 35 children – were killed by suspected ADF combatants. At least 47 civilians were wounded, 20 were abducted and two were victims of sexual violence. During this period, suspected ADF elements have attacked at least 35 villages, using machetes, hammers and knives, amongst others, and carrying out summary executions of civilians. During the same period, the UNJHRO also documented the destruction and looting of houses. From 28 February 2016 to March 2016, civilians were targeted by suspected ADF combatants in several villages on both sides of the border between North Kivu and Ituri, in Bambuka-Kisiski (Beni territory, North Kivu province) and Bandavilemba (Irumu territory, Ituri province)” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: 12, 2016).
FARDC rape in Goma 2012:
“In November 2012, after the capture of Goma by the M23 armed group, FARDC soldiers withdrew to Minova, in South Kivu province, where they committed mass rapes and other human rights violations during a period of 10 days. On 5 May 2014, the Military Operational Court of North Kivu delivered its verdict on this case and sentenced 26 FARDC soldiers to prison terms ranging from three years to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. Thirteen other soldiers have meanwhile been acquitted” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P 14, 2016).
“From 20 to 22 September 2015, FARDC soldiers assigned to 33071st Battalion under the leadership of Colonel Jules Dhenyo Beker reportedly committed several human rights violations in Musenyi village, in the vicinity of Maibano, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province, during an operation to track down Rayia Mutomboki chief Mweke Atobaibwa. Civilians were arrested and taken to a school used by the military operation’s leadership. A 16-week old baby reportedly died following a beating. Nineteen women were raped (or gang-raped in some cases), 31 people were subjected to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatments and arbitrary arrests while 78 others were subjected to looting and/or extortions. The next day, a high ranking FARDC official reportedly visited the scene of the incident and ordered the population not to report what had happened” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: 32, 2016).
“Since May 2013, at least 20 children under 12 and thirty children aged between 12 and 17 have reportedly been abducted, raped and subjected to genital mutilations in Kavumu, 35 km from Bukavu, in the groupement of Bugorhe, Kabare territory, South Kivu province. The victims were reportedly abducted in their sleep without any witness and returned home or near their residence after being raped or mutilated. According to judicial authorities, these crimes were reportedly perpetrated in the context of initiation rituals and fetishist practices. Reportedly, these rapes and abductions also sought to terrorize the local population. On 17 March 2016, in Kavumu, a human rights defender who had spoken out on cases of rape against children in Kavumu and denounced the implication of a local leader, as well as the inaction of judicial authorities, was summarily executed by armed men wearing PNC uniforms.” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: 33, 2016).
For the ones that hasn’t followed the nation, the FARDC and the Guerrillas in the DRC will this be eye-opening, for others this is old news. Still, the reports prove certain aspects of life in regions and parts of DRC… This is more to show the dirty and nitty gritty that too many civilians and people of the DRC have lived through. This is what you can call a stern warning that people should care about the senseless violence against humanity in the DRC. Peace.
OHCA/MONUSCO – ‘Accountability for Human Rights Violations and Abuses in the DRC: Achievements, Challenges and Way forward’ (1 January 2014 – 31 March 2016) – October 2016
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, March 24, 2016 – Mark C. Toner, Deputy Department Spokesperson, Washington, DC, March 23, 2016:
The United States welcomes the transfer of Ladislas Ntaganzwa by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to face trial in Rwanda for several crimes, including genocide and crimes against humanity, pursuant to an arrest warrant by the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT). This transfer is a positive example of regional judicial cooperation and took place as a result of close coordination and consultation by the DRC government and the MICT, as well as other diplomatic partners. Ntaganzwa is the sixth individual indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda who has been arrested by the Government of the DRC and transferred for trial.
Ntaganzwa’s apprehension is a welcome step toward justice for the victims of the Rwandan genocide. Ntaganzwa is accused of abusing his position of power as a mayor to help plan, prepare, and carry out the massacre of over twenty-thousand Tutsis at Cyahinda parish—many of whom had gathered to take refuge from massacres in the surrounding countryside—as well as thousands of killings elsewhere in Rwanda. As a reminder of the brutal way in which sexual and gender-based violence is often used as a tactic of war, Ntaganzwa is also charged with giving direct orders for women to be brutally, and repeatedly, raped.
We commend the efforts of those involved in Ntaganzwa’s transfer and whose actions made it possible for Ntaganzwa to face justice, and we encourage continued efforts to bring to justice those responsible for genocide and other atrocities in Rwanda. Eight individuals charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda remain at large, and the United States remains committed to supporting their apprehension – and to showing the survivors of atrocity crimes around the world that the pursuit of justice knows no expiration date. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the remaining fugitives is encouraged to contact the War Crimes Rewards Program at state.gov/warcrimesrewards orWCRP@state.gov.