19 September 2017

Burundi: Govt Under UN Human Rights Scrutiny

Photo: HCR/Kate Holt
Dispaced people (file photo).

The Commission of Inquiry presents its final report to the Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue on Burundi this 19 September, in Geneva at its 36th session. Burundi government still rejects the report of the UN commission.

The chairman of the Commission of Inquiry, Fatsah Ouguergouz accuses Burundi government and other institutions of denigrating the work done by the commission of Inquiry. "Reactions from other government institutions consist of casualness of the Commission address. Such speeches do not honor either their authors or the government they represent", says Ouguergouz. He, however, says the UN experts confirm the conclusions of the report.

The UN commission of Inquiry on Burundi has recently published a report on the Human Rights situation in the country.

The chairman of the commission said crimes against humanity have been and continue to be committed in Burundi since April 2015. The commission urged the ICC to launch investigations into possible crimes committed in Burundi since April 2015, when violent protests against the incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza broke out, thus causing the death of hundreds of people.

Fatsah Ouguergouz says the UN experts did a great work but were not powerful enough to put pressure on Burundi government to collaborate with them. "However, this report should not be underestimated as it is based on independent investigations," he says.

The chairman of the commission also says the report should be used by governmental and non-governmental institutions to resolve the politico-security crisis in Burundi. "The Commission of Inquiry has done its job. It is the turn of the International community to do its part," he says.

Speaking on behalf of the Burundian government, Rénovat Tabu, Burundi Ambassador to Geneva says Burundi has never refuted any exact and independent investigation into the Human Rights violations in Burundi. "Burundians have experienced tragic events in 1965, 1969, 1972, 1988... but the UN kept silent", he says.

Ambassador Tabu wonders why the UN wants to investigate the human rights violations only committed in 2015.

"The UN Human Rights Council should reject this report produced by the commission it set up itself as it discredits it," he said.

Divergent reactions

The representative of the DRC to the UN Human Rights Council accuses the UN Human Rights Council of applying a double standard and trying to politicize the Council. "After fifteen years, the UN Human Rights Council shifts from its objectivity, universality and non-selectivity by categorizing the perpetrators of the crimes committed," he says. The DRC representative recommends the UN Human Rights Council to consider the initiatives taken by the African Union and region in stabilizing peace and security in Burundi.

France representative in the UN Human Rights Council says it is necessary that the commission continues its investigations as the crimes are still perpetrated in the country. France exhorts Burundi government to collaborate with the commission to establish the responsibilities of each perpetrator of the crimes committed in Burundi since the past two years and bring them to justice. "Fighting against impunity and engaging in an inclusive dialogue thanks to the regional facilitation are the main strategies to be used to handle all issues in Burundi," says France representative.


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