BURUNDI: Hundreds Protest Against UN Report Pinning Nkurunziza for Crimes

Protesters who took part in a demo against the recent UN report. (Photo: @RegionWeek)

Hundreds of Burundians took part in government-backed protests on Saturday against a UN report that blamed President Pierre Nkurunziza and his ruling party of committing crimes against humanity.

Alexis Matabaro, a resident in the capital Bujumbura said on Sunday thousands of people like himself participated in the protests in the streets of the capital, demanding that the UN apologizes for the misleading report.

This month, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Burundi report mentioned serious human rights violations, including some which constitute crimes against humanity, continued to be committed in Burundi.

Many Burundians fled their country in 2015 following violence sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term which opposition members said was unconstitutional.

In its report, the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi described summary executions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, sexual violence and forced disappearances.

The Commission also said it was concerned with the shrinking democratic space in Burundi as well as the growing impoverishment of the population.

Burundians authorities have repeatedly denied its security agencies torture citizens.

Burundi government threatened on Friday to quit the UN Human Rights Council over apparent “politicization” following the report.

Vital Nshimihiana, a Burundian human rights activist urged Nkurunziza’s government to address human rights violations going on in Burundi instead of fighting the UN.

Last week, the east African nation Foreign Minister Ezechiel Nibigira called the UN report “defamatory and deceitful”.

According to UN Security Council, the majority of the alleged crimes were committed by members of the national intelligence service, police and military, as well as the Imbonerakure, the ruling party’s youth wing, described as a militia by the UN.

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