24 September 2016 – Burundi has rejected deliberately politicized or falsified reports on the human rights situation in the country and will produce a comprehensive survey on the issue in response to a recently-released United Nations-backed inquiry, its Minister for External Affairs told the General Assembly today.
As Burundi is consolidating its security gains “battling all sort of actors whose unique goal is regime change and whose methods of operation are violent, it is imperative that any human rights assessment of the country be executed with caution,” as falsified information, rumours and social media have all been used to paint the country “in a bad light,” Alain Aimé Nyamitwe told the Assembly’s annual debate.
Referring to the final report of the UN Independent Investigation in Burundi (UNIIB), released on 20 September and detailed in a news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), he said his Government categorically rejects “purposefully and politically exaggerated reports on alleged human rights violations."
“[Some] cases were taken out of context, others out of proportion, with no word of the security personnel who were killed on duty,” he said, also questioning the methods used to gather the information included in the report. He said his Government would have the opportunity to present a counter-report in Geneva in the coming days.
In all this, the Minister stressed that his Government has reiterated its unwavering commitment to human rights and to ensure the safety of all citizens, irrespective of ethnicity. “None of the groups is above the rest, neither is any a pariah,” he declared.
Turning to the inter-Burundi dialogue, he said while the dialogue is important and Burundi is committed to it, it should not replace or undermine the country’s Constitution. His Government believes that peaceful political stakeholders in line with UN Security Council resolutions, should discuss the country’s future but must adhere to its policies.
In reacting to recent conflict in the country, Burundi citizens have called for several important reforms, which cannot be ignored, and the Government has maintained an unwavering commitment to human rights, he stressed.
On global security, he underscored that terrorism is now affecting all regions of the world. Some progress has been made to combat it, but international efforts or a common strategy have not yet yielded the desired results.
His Government condemns terrorism and believes the fight against it must continue with greater determination. Since 2007, Burundi has been contributing troops to fight terrorism, based on an iron-clad commitment against the scourge in support of global peace.
Expressing support for a brotherly country, he called on the UN to fill in the financial gap left by a reduction in the European Union budget for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).