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

Health Education, is it a necessity?

From coca to cocoa: three lessons from Peru on how farmers can leave the drug trade behind

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, who gets it and who pays the bill?

Dozens killed and injured by new airstrikes in western Yemen, UN coordinator condemns ‘outrageous’ toll

China Unlimited and the Chinese dream

Youth employment crisis easing but far from over

The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

Investing in rural women and girls, ‘essential’ for everyone’s future: UN chief

Further reforms in France can drive growth, improve public finances and boost social cohesion

Mental distress during the pandemic: is there a way out?

What has changed in the French politico-economic horizon

Everyone has ‘a moral imperative’ to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities, says UN chief

This entrepreneur built an island resort out of plastic waste

EU Parliament approves CETA: the EU-Canada free trade deal sees the light in Trump’s gloomy era

Civilian death toll continues to mount in Syria, UN relief chief tells Security Council

Fears for food security and the future of farming families, as Fall Armyworm spreads to Asia

Bacteria vs. humans: how to fight in this world war?

World’s human rights watchdog spotlights Afghanistan, Yemen and 12 others: Here’s the scoop

Draghi keeps the euro cheap, helps debt refinancing, recapitalization of banks and growth

Why we need a Paris Agreement for nature

How blockchain can cut the cost of new medicine

Madagascar: UN chief commends leaders, State institutions following ‘historic milestone’ election

If on a summer’s night: is UK businesses’ “new deal” the only key to the “best of all worlds”?

Soil erosion must be stopped ‘to save our future’, says UN agriculture agency

Europe’s forests are booming. Here’s why.

Batteries included: how better storage can transform renewable energy

Replacement for United States on Human Rights Council to be elected ‘as soon as possible’

MEPs back first EU management plan for fish stocks in the Western Mediterranean

Why COVID-19 could mean a new dawn for Nigeria’s manufacturing sector

Eurostat: Real unemployment double than the official rate

A major win for transgender rights: UN health agency drops ‘gender identity disorder’, as official diagnosis

Lessons from the Global Entrepreneurship Index

Jean-Claude Juncker and Theresa May at last week’s EU Council. Source: EC Audiovisual Services / Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Photo: Etienne Ansotte

EU leaders open “Phase Two” of Brexit talks and warn Theresa May of tougher times

This is how AI can help you make sense of the world

Boosting adult learning essential to help people adapt to future of work

Will the European Court of Justice change data privacy laws to tackle terrorism?

How can we produce enough protein to feed 10 billion people?

Greenhouse gas emissions have already peaked in 30 major cities

Commission presents EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreements for signature and conclusion

Improving Italy’s capital market will boost growth opportunities for Italian companies and savers

‘Uphold human dignity’, dismantle ‘specious notion of racial superiority’ urges UN chief

The company of the future must do well by doing good

UN chief hails victory of ‘political will’ in historic Republic of North Macedonia accord

Towards a climate-neutral Europe: EU invests over €10bn in innovative clean technologies

‘Crippling to our credibility’ that number of women peacekeepers is so low: UN chief

Afghanistan: top UN official denounces ‘extreme’ suffering of civilians in Ghazni

This is how countries compare on gun deaths

Commission Work Programme 2019: Delivering on promises and preparing for the future

Sri Lankan authorities must work ‘vigorously’ to ease simmering ethno-religious tensions, urges UN rights expert

UNcomplicating the UN: a new podcast is born over coffee in New York

Stronger European Border and Coast Guard to secure EU’s borders

Commission paralysed before the banking leviathan

Malta: investigation risks being compromised while Prime Minister is in office

Industrial products: Lifting the last impediments in the EU single market

Is South Korea set to lose from its FTA with the EU?

Berlin cannot dictate anymore the terms for the enactment of the European Banking Union

Half of Eurozone in deflation expecting salvation from monetary measures

US life expectancy is falling – here’s why

Why business schools can’t “return to normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic

More women and girls needed in the sciences to solve world’s biggest challenges

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