Burundi demonstrating ’unwillingness or inability to protect civilians’

Published by Théophile Niyitegeka
On 2 December 2016 saa 03:29
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Burundi government has been urged to open its borders for United Nations police contingent to monitor the security and human rights situation in the country as armed militia are openly intimidating people.

A UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) decision issued on Monday under its early warning and urgent action procedure said Burundi is demonstrating “unwillingness or inability to protect civilians”.

It expressed concern over a November 8 Civil Service questionnaire that asks public servants to state their ethnicity. Also, concern at “reports of killings, summary executions, disappearances and torture; the frequent use of hate speech by Government officials; and the growing number of Burundians fleeing the country”.

"Burundi is at a dangerous junction. We therefore call on the Government to step back from any actions that risk stoking ethnic conflict and that could even be a precursor to mass atrocities,"Chairperson of the 18-member CERD, Anastasia Crickley said.

The CERD called on the Burundi government to co-operate with the international community and re-engage with the UN Human Rights Office after suspending its cooperation.

It also urged the authorities to abide by Burundi’s human rights obligations, including those arising from the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Burundi earlier rejected the UN Independent Investigation on Burundi and the Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council after announcing its intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.