REJECTED BY BURUNDI: UN Commission of Inquiry into rights violations in Burundi Chairman Fatsah Ougergouz

The Burundi government has rejected the recently-constituted commission set up by the UN rights body to investigate human rights violations and abuse committed in the troubled central African state.

On November 22 the UN Human Rights body appointed three commissioners: Fatsah Ouguergouz (Algeria), Reina Alapini Gansu (Benin) and Francoise Hampson (United Kingdom) to investigate human rights violations committed in Burundi since April 2015.

But according to Martin Nivyabandi, the Burundi Minister of Human Rights, the commission is not necessary in Burundi since the Government can ensure the security for its citizens.

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“Burundi government said it would not cooperate with that commission. Burundi Ambassador to Geneva said that Burundi was not ready to collaborate with the three commissioners when the UN Human right body set up the commission”, said Nivyabandi.

He said that the African Union had already deployed 40 military and human rights observers to monitor the human rights situation. “They are in the country and we collaborate every day,” he says.

But rights activists including Anchaire Nikoyagize, said the fact that Burundi government refuses to cooperate with the commission of inquiry is an act of ‘self-accusation’.

“We have repeatedly asked international observers to monitor human rights situation in Burundi. This commission gives us reason to hope that all those who are involved in crimes against humanity and other serious crimes committed in Burundi will ultimately be brought to justice,” says Nikoyagize.

He added; “Burundi is not isolated. The international community follows closely what is happening in the country”, he warns.

The Commission will be present during an oral briefing to the Human Rights Council at its 34th and 35th sessions, in March and June 2017, respectively, and a final report at an interactive dialogue at the Council’s 36th session in September 2017.

Burundi was plunged into a political crisis since April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a controversial third term in office that he won.

To date, UN reports say that hundreds of people have been killed, more than 250,000 have fled the nation, and thousands more have been arrested and subjected to human rights violations.