PEOPLE in Burundi are living under a reign of terror ahead of next year’s elections and there are a number of warning signs that new atrocities could be unleashed, UN rights investigators said on Wednesday.
This is according to a report by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi.
Members of the opposition and their alleged supporters have been killed, abducted, arrested, tortured and raped by the Imbonerakure, the youth league of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s ruling party, a report said.
The silencing of dissenters creates the illusion of normality in the East African country, the commission said in a statement.
“It is a ‘calm’ based on terror,’’ said commission member, Francoise Hampson, a British war crimes and human rights scholar.
Civil unrest started in Burundi in 2015, when Nkurunziza announced his decision to seek a third term in office despite a two-term limit.
His subsequent election victory unleashed a crisis that led to hundreds of people being killed.
The UN commission reiterated its view that crimes against humanity have been committed in the country.
In an effort to sound an early warning, the commission found numerous risk factors for new atrocities.
These include political and economic insecurity, past rights violations that went unpunished and weak state structures.
In addition, the commission noted that hate propaganda and culture of obedience within the ruling CNDD-FDD party and the Imbonerakure are also worrying factors.
“The suppression of civil liberties is intensifying in the run-up to the 2020 presidential and legislative elections,’’ the report warned.
It urged the international community to monitor Burundi “with the greatest vigilance’’.
– Sept. 4, 2019 @ 16:59 GMT |