Opponents of constitutional change in Burundi face torture and execution: UN investigators

UN/Jean-Marc Ferré
Doudou Diène, President of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

In Burundi, opponents of constitutional reform supported by the Government have faced torture and execution amid a “continuing environment of threats and intimidation”, senior UN investigators said on Wednesday.

Reporting to the Human Rights Council, the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi delivered its findings based on more than 380 interviews, in addition to 500 testimonies collected last year.

The dossier compiled by the three-member panel encompasses events surrounding the national referendum last month on constitutional reform which could extend President Pierre Nkurunziza’s term in office well beyond 2020.

Noting a presidential declaration made in support of his successor after the referendum, the report reiterates the view of some observers that Mr. Nkurunziza’s comments were “by no means a clear and firm commitment not to run” in future elections himself.

It also notes “difficulties” faced by international media outlets in covering events in the country amid the suspension of broadcasters including the BBC and Voice of America, following reports that were deemed “biased” by Burundian authorities.

On the alleged rights violations committed in the country, the report highlights “numerous arrests” of people who called for a “no” vote in the referendum, including members of opposition parties who were then allegedly executed or abducted.

It states that “unidentified bodies” have continued to be found “in various parts of the country” after their arrest by “individuals in police uniform” or National Intelligence Service (SNR) agents.

Victims were also targeted by the Imbonerakure — the youth wing aligned to the ruling CNDD-FDD party — whose influence is said to have risen “in the repressive machinery which has developed since 2015”.

Describing how the Imbonerakure “cover the country”, the Commission of Inquiry’s findings detail how their members inform the authorities about “real or perceived opponents in each locality”, all the while “harassing, controlling or intimidating the population”, with the approval of State officials.

This collaboration extends to putting pressure on people to collect contributions for elections in 2020, the report states, before detailing how civil servants are required to pay the equivalent of 10 per cent “or more” of their salary to an election fund.

This levy extends to households and others above voting age on an “ad hoc basis at the local level”, the report continues, citing eyewitness reports of “roadblocks set up throughout the country” by the Imbonerakure to check whether people had receipts for the tax.

Such developments have contributed to the “continuing deterioration” of the Burundian economy that has left the country’s people among the very poorest in the world, according to per capita earnings, the report continues.

Referencing the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), it states that 3.6 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Burundi today.

The deteriorating economic situation will be included in the Commission of Inquiry’s final report to the Human Rights Council in September.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU Budget 2019: no deal before the end of the conciliation period

Africa is ‘on the rise’, says UN chief Guterres, urging collaboration for better future

Create conditions for ‘harmony between humankind and nature’, UN chief says on sidelines of G20 in Japan

We need to protect 30% of the planet by 2030. This is how we can do it

European Commission launches EU-wide public consultation on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan

LETTER FROM AFGHANISTAN: Elections serve up food for thought, for Afghan youth

UN health agency to gauge global threat, as China confirms coronavirus transmission between humans

Euro celebrates its 20th birthday

Improving coverage of mental health services

Four lessons for a successful switch to value-based healthcare

Business is a crucial partner in solving the mental health challenge

Protection of workers from biological agents: how to classify COVID-19

‘Violence, atrocities and impunity’ reign throughout Libya, ICC prosecutor tells UN Security Council

Preferential tariffs to help Western Sahara to develop

MWC 2016 LIVE: Qualcomm looks to pick up Hamilton’s winning ways

Confronting antimicrobial resistance of animal origin

The EU Commission implicates major banks in cartel cases, threatens with devastating fines

A vision for post-pandemic mobility in African cities

These are the countries best prepared for the fight against cancer

Mental health in the times of coronavirus

These 5 charts show our shifting behaviour around coronavirus

Meet Alice, the battery-powered plane that could herald the age of electric air travel

European Investment Bank to borrow €70 billion in 2013

Nature is our strongest ally in ensuring global water security

My Mothers

Here’s how we can tackle the growing cybersecurity skills gap

EU Cohesion policy: Commission and EBRD promote innovative use of data in public procurement involving EU funds

3 things to know about women in STEM

3.7 million lives could be saved by 2025 if health services ramp up nutrition actions: WHO

How to survive the COVID-19 lockdown with a newborn baby

Vital food crops destroyed in Syria amid upsurge in fighting across Idlib, Hama

UN experts report: Business ‘dragging its feet’ on human rights worldwide

Whose interests are protected by the new Mortgage Directive?

UN-backed intercultural dialogue forum urged to keep working to ‘bridge gap between the like-minded’

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health

The United States divorce rate is dropping, thanks to millennials

Future of our planet hinges on action by today’s youth – UN deputy chief

UN chief welcomes decision to delay formation of South Sudan unity government

Data Protection Regulation one year on: 73% of Europeans have heard of at least one of their rights

CO2 can be a valuable raw material, not just a climate killer. Here’s how

Canada needs to increase foreign aid flows in line with its renewed engagement

Humanitarian Aid: EU announces €18.5 million additional package for Latin America and the Caribbean

Banks get trillions and the unemployed ECB’s love…

A win-win strategy for private equity deals

State aid: Commission approves €200 million Danish loan in support of the Travel Guarantee Fund for travel cancellations due to coronavirus outbreak

EU to take action against fake news and foreign electoral interference

3 reasons we should all care about biodiversity

Humanitarian Aid: EU mobilises €6 million for people in need in Colombia

Amsterdam is developing a fleet of autonomous boats to reduce city traffic

‘Unprecedented terrorist violence’ in West Africa, Sahel region

How our food system is eating away at nature, and our future

Conditions deteriorating alarmingly in Yemen, warns senior UN official

What matters most to young Europeans?

A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all

Is this a turning point in the fight against slavery?

The scary EU elections result and the delayed Council’s repentance

Ukraine: Temperatures plunge amid rising humanitarian needs

UN chief announces progress on committee to shape Syria’s political future

EU mobilises immediate support for its Western Balkan partners to tackle coronavirus

FROM THE FIELD: Faces and Voices of Conflict

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s