Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Appalling Human Rights Abuses in Burundi

Rights groups in Burundi have raised concern about the killing of senior political and military leaders. Head of OHCHR in Burundi, Vahard, has condemned massive arrests and arbitrary detentions, calling for dialogue.

Burundi has been shattered by violence since April this year when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his plan to run for a third term. Dozens of people have since been killed and thousands have fled the country.

Head of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Burundi Patrice Vahard told DW that ''the situation in the country is deteriorating and it's regrettable."

According to our correspondent in the capital Bujumbura, Apollinaire Niyirora, the country is becoming increasingly unstable, two months after the controversial presidential elections, during which president Pierre Nkurunziza won overwhelmingly. The United Nations claimed the election was neither fair nor peaceful, the African Union stood down its election observers saying the country was not suitable to hold election and the opposition boycotted the elections.


Months-long ralliess organized by the opposition and civil society organizations to stop the president from running for a third term and threats of international sanctions could not sway Nkurunziza from his course.

Since Nkurunziza was elected for a third term on July 21, 2015, the amount of targeted killings has soared, among them is the killing of Nkurunziza's top aide and former spy chief Adolphe Nshimirimana.

Targeted killings of senior government officials increased after Nkurunziza was sworn in for a third term.

OHCHR chief in Burundi, Vahard, has called for urgent action to stop the killings and arbitrary arrests.

Local and international organizations have also been calling for sustainable talks that would bring together the Burundian government and opposition leaders including those in exile.

Burundi's first vice-President Gaston Sindimwo told DW the dialogue is underway for the restoration of peace and security.

''We continue to dialogue with various stakeholders of the country's socio-political life. We're sure that we will reach the target,'' Sindimwo said adding that people should stop pressuring and they should wait for the results. "We can not reach the goal by bowing to pressure from here and there, we can only achieve peace by engaging our community in dialogue," Sindimwo said.

Police officers should respect human rights

Local rights groups say more than 600 persons have been arrested since late April following protests against Nkurunziza's plans to cling on power. The UN says there have been human rights crimes committed by Burundi's security forces including illegal arrests and torturing those who opposed the ruling party (CNDD-FDD).

A group of protestors march against President Nkurunziza's third term bid.
Human rights organizations have reported that at least 100 people have been killed since protest began in April.

The UN High Commission for Human Rights representative in Burundi, Patrice Vahard has been engaging the Burundi authorities to stop these human rights abuses.

''The most important point really is the ability to address those abuses ... anything that is outside the law, should not be encouraged. And we need to work on that," he said and added "Police officers should respect human rights and stop torturing people and arbitrary arrest."

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