Watchdogs cry out as 400 die in Burundi

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Jean Baptiste Baribonekeza

African Ombudsmen have called on the United Nations and the African Union to give them the role of conflict resolution.

“Our observation is that in the world conflicts abound, but unfortunately when it comes to finding solutions,” SOS Media Burundi quotes the Burundian ombudsman, Édouard Nduwimana as saying.

He added: “We make use of former heads of state, former prime ministers or others and never or rarely ombudsmen or mediators.”

He said that in the margins of an international conference on “peace and the role of national mediation institutions in peace-building and conflict prevention throughout the world” in Bujumbura.

Out of 44 countries that had instituted an ombudsman, only 11 were represented at the conference.

Melbet

The call comes at a point Burundi’s political situation is spiralling out of control with the ruling party militias accused of kidnapping, torturing and killing nationals on a grand scale.

Killings

In a report to the National Assembly on Wednesday, CNIDH (National Independent Human Rights Commission) said over 400 people have killed, more than 120 abducted, more than 90 cases of torture and more 830 cases of arbitrary detention and arrest have been recorded.

Jean Baptiste Baribonekeza, the President of CNIDH states that all advanced figures have been documented and “everything contained in this report has been documented. The Non-verified cases were not mentioned”.

Pro-government legislators denounced his report and demanded for a verification of the information circulated by activists.

Baribonekeza advised the government not to denounce everything: “the government should not be on the defensive every day. We must accept the truth and not always be prepared to deny everything.”

“What is wrong, however, is to denounce him for example speaking of the FIDH report no one can convince me that there is no positive development at present,” he explained.

The opposition party also deplored overcrowding in prisons.

“For a host capacity of 3,750 at the national level, prisons are filled with more than 9 prisoners. The occupancy rate of 250%.”

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