31 August 2017

Burundi: UN Report About Human Rights Violation Raises Controversy Among MPs

Photo: © 2016 Privé
Illustration of torture in Burundi

The UN experts have recently published a report about human rights violations in Burundi. Some MPs support the report while others dismiss the allegations it contains.

The recent UN report says human rights violations have escalated in Burundi since April 2015. However, MPs disagree on its content.

MP Mutezinka Euphrasie says she is not surprised by the report. She condemns the behaviour of some Burundian authorities and say those reports are reasonable. Mutezinka gives a testimony of what happened to her "on 23 August 2017 when she was going to Kirundo court for land issues. During the trial, I was publically beaten by one person.

People, judges and security agents all around were watching. The trial was adjourned and the court called the prosecutor. The latter took my mobile phone. He told me that I have to pay a BIF 50,000 fine and till now he still holds my mobile phone. Imagine there were those international activists of Human Rights watching such a scene where an MP is beaten in front of people. What would they report? We have to change our behaviour. We are the ones who tarnish our country's image."

Nkunzimana Olive, an MP elected in Ngozi has the same view as Euphasie's view. She says she has more than five cases of people recently killed in her native commune of Gashikanwa . "I know more than five cases but let me focus on this one. A young student named Habonimana Ananie was killed within this month of August. He refused to carry out night patrols and was found killed the following day", she says. She advises that instead of saying that all is going well, they should work to improve security conditions. For her, the security situation is not something that can be hidden.

"There is no truth in such kinds of reports"

MP Lazare Mvuyekure says the aim of the reports is to tarnish the country's image. "In Libya, such false reports were given and the aeroplanes were sent to destroy the country. The same persons who destroyed the country have recently decided in a meeting to forbid Libyans to go to their countries. We have to pay attention with these kinds of reports. The government should plan to gainsay the report. There is nothing true in those reports",

For MP Mbonyinka Gilbert, the solution is to partner with Human Rights NGO so that they produce real and unbiased reports.

He says those reports may be biased but suggested that there should be a good collaboration between the government and those NGOs. "Those reports may be biased but there may also be some truth in them. It would be better if a special commission of investigations that will collaborate with them was established. We need to help them to get accurate information. But I would like to ask the Justice Ministry to also focus on the fact that some criminals are released on the basis of their political parties".

Those MPs expressed their worries during an oral question session to the Justice Minister this 30 August 2017 in Kigobe Congress Hall where Burundi National Assembly operates.

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