Burundians live in fear of rape, killings, arbitrary arrests, torture

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Mr. Alexandre Niyungeko at Human Rights Council

DefendDefenders and the Burundian Union of Journalists thank the Commission for Inquiry on Burundi for their oral update. As an exiled Burundian who has tried to continue his activism, I appreciate the human rights violations that affect my people.

Mr. President, grave human rights violations, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, torture and other inhuman treatments continues to be perpetrated in Burundi, my country. We are also concerned about the many cases of violence against women and girls.

Hate speech calling for rape by the Imbonerakure is an additional proof of the campaign of terror that is targeted to women and girls and hate speech promoted by pro-government media.

A climate of fear and suspicion has taken over Burundi and chases human rights defenders into exile. Independent journalism has become so risky that those who remain risk their lives on a daily basis.

At the same time, recent disease epidemics amplify this situation. With the political crisis, insecurity and a deteriorating economic situation, access to basic services is jeopardy in Burundi.

Victoria University

Mr. President, while the Burundian people are living in constant fear, the Government of Burundi refuses any dialogue and cooperation, including with the Commission of Inquiry. This behavior is unacceptable on the part of the Human Rights Council. Mr. President, we call upon all members of this Council to remind them of the responsibility for the crimes committed.

DefendDefenders and the Burundian Union of Journalists thank the Commission of Inquiry’s experts for their oral report. As an exiled Burundian who seeks to continue his work, I appreciate the hard work done by the experts to document the human rights violations that affect my people.

Mr. President, serious human rights violations – extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary arrests – continue to be perpetrated in my country. We are also very concerned about the many cases of violence against women and girls. The hatred calling for rape by the Imbonerakure militia is only further evidence of the terror campaign targeting women and girls, and we are particularly concerned about the hate speech conveyed by the pro-government media .

A climate of fear and suspicion has invaded Burundi, which has pursued human rights defenders to exile, and independent journalism has become so risky that those who stay in the country risk their lives on a daily basis.

At the same time, recent epidemics exacerbate this situation. With the political crisis, insecurity and a deteriorating economic situation, access to essential services, such as education and health, is hampered in Burundi.

Mr. President, while the Burundian people are living in constant fear, the Government of Burundi refuses all dialogue and cooperation, including the Commission of Inquiry.

This behaviour is unacceptable on the part of a member state of the Human Rights Council. Mr President, we call on all member states of this Council to remind Burundi of its obligations and to establish responsibility for the crimes committed.

Delivered by Mr. Alexandre Niyungeko at Human Rights Council: 35th session on Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi

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