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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Burundi government reject reports of gross human rights violations

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- The Burundi government has rejected a report by three United Nations independent experts on "abundant evidence of gross human rights violations" in Burundi, a senior communication adviser at the Burundian president’s office has said.

"The Burundi government rejects the report written by the so-called independent experts.

"The report is biased and is not credible.

"It shows the negligence of the experts during their assignment," said Willy Nyamitwe, senior communication adviser at the office of Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza.

According to Nyamitwe, the UN independent experts "only focused their assignment on anonymous testimonies" instead of doing a "real" research.

"They relied on wrong information circulated on the internet and detractors of the government and security forces instead of coming to Burundi to carry out a scientific work," said Nyamitwe.

However, the three UN independent experts had been to Burundi twice in March 1-8 and June 13-17 separately this year.

The third visit due this month could not take place for security reasons.

The report issued on Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland, bearing on a period ranging from April 15, 2015 to June 30, 2016, documented 564 executions committed by the government and affiliated groups.

It also targeted assassinations, arbitrary detention, torture and sexual violence.

According to the report, executions have been committed on a large scale by security forces, often supported by the ruling party’s youth wing known as Imbonerakure, adding that the majority of the victims were opposed, or perceived to be opposed, to the third term of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Burundi plunged in a crisis since April 2015 when Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial third term in violation of the national constitution and the 2000 Arusha Agreement.

More than 500 people in Burundi have been killed and some 270,000 people fled to neighboring countries mostly Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda since the outbreak of the crisis.
.

UPDATE:

Dozens demonstrate against UN report on human rights violations in Burundi

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- Dozens of people have demonstrated in front of the office of the United Nations in Burundi to denounce the Sept. 20, 2016 report by UN independent experts on gross human rights violations happening in Burundi.

Demonstrators had banners on which we could read "Stop dividing Burundian people", "UN experts are liars," or "The experts are manipulated."

One of protestors told reporters that they are demonstrating to denounce the "biased" report produced by three UN independent experts.

"In reality, there is no genocide.

"I am a Tutsi and a real Tutsi born in Burundi.

"Hutus and Tutsis live in harmony.

"The army and police bodies are balanced in terms of ethnic participation.

"The same applies in the public administration.

"Therefore, there is no reason for a genocide," said Richard Ngendakumana, one of the protestors.

The demonstration started Wednesday with only one protestor - Jean Luc Ndikumwenayo - who called himself a Tutsi, protesting against the report that raises the risk of a genocide against the Tutsi minority group in Burundi if preventive measures are not taken.

While the Burundian government acknowledges that there were violations of human rights since April last year, Burundian Human Rights Minister Martin Nivyabandi deplored, in a press conference on Thursday, that the report is a "political one rather than a technical one."

"The government does not deny that there are violations of human rights.

As it is the case in other countries, we have some challenges that we have to address as a government and everybody is invited to be involved in this process of protection and promotion of human rights," said Burundian Human Rights Minister Martin Nivyabandi.

He indicated that the experts should not have suggested the cancellation of the participation of Burundi at the UN Human Rights Council.

"They proposed that Burundi must be removed from the UN Human Rights Council.

Those are elements that show us that it is a politically-guided report.

The report targets a political process, but all that is very important is that we will be in Geneva by Sept. 27 and we will give the true version of facts which occurred in Burundi during the period covered by the report," said Nivyabandi.

Three UN independent experts had been to Burundi twice in March and June this year.

The third visit due this month could not take place for security reasons.

The report issued in Geneva, Switzerland, covering a period ranging from April 15, 2015 to June 30, 2016, documented 564 executions committed by the government and affiliated groups.

It also revealed assassinations, arbitrary detention, torture and sexual violence.

According to the report, executions have been committed on a large scale by security forces, often supported by the ruling party’s youth wing known as Imbonerakure, adding that the majority of the victims were opposed, or perceived to be opposed, to the third term of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Burundi plunged in a crisis since April 2015 when Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial third term despite the national constitution and the 2000 Arusha Agreement.

Since the outbreak of the crisis, some 270,000 Burundian people fled to neighboring countries mostly Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
.

EARLIER REPORT:

Great Lakes body pledges to mediate Burundi-Rwanda tension

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has pledged to mediate the tension existing between Burundi and Rwanda, a spokesman of the Burundian president said Wednesday in a statement.

The statement was made in a briefing after a courtesy call of ICGLR new Executive Secretary Zachary Muburi Muita to Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza.

"The Burundian president told the ICGLR Executive Secretary that Burundian citizens do not have any problems with Rwandan citizens. During their discussions, the Executive Secretary pledged to mediate the conflict between Burundi and Rwanda," said Jean Claude Karerwa, deputy-spokesman of the Burundian president.

According to Karerwa, Muita pledged to all his best in collaboration with the East African Community (EAC) and the United Nations (UN).

Relations between Burundi and Rwanda are cold since April 2015 when Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial third term in violation of the national constitution and the 2000 Arusha Agreement.

Rwanda is accused of hosting Burundian citizens who staged a failed coup plot on May 13, 2015 and of providing military training to people who are destabilizing Burundi.

But Rwanda denied all those allegations.

More than 500 people in Burundi have been killed and some 270,000 people fled to neighboring countries since the outbreak of the crisis.

The ICGLR secretariat is based in the Burundian capital Bujumbura.

Twelve African Great Lakes countries are members of the ICGLR.

They include Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, the Republic of South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.

           

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