Report 53 on Burundi

Burundi boycotts peace dialogue
From 16 to 18 February 2017, the Tanzanian city of Arusha hosted the 3rd round of the Inter-Burundian Dialogue. The session was convened in a controversial manner as the impartiality and credibility of the Facilitator is still questioned by some groups including the opposition. The main opposition coalition CNARED which previously rejected the Facilitator finally reported to the session. The government of Burundi boycotted the session arguing that it can't talk with groups and people under prosecution for crimes that they committed during the ongoing crisis. The Burundian Ambassador to Tanzania even sent a written request to the Tanzanian government so that it could arrest those members of CNARED under Burundi arrest warrants.
While the opposition explained that it went to Arusha for negotiation, the ruling CNDD-FDD contended that it was there to explain that Burundian refugees should return in their homeland since the country is secure than ever. The Facilitator extended to the stakeholders a number of issues to discuss. This was seen as the basis for a political agreement. Civil society and women groups were not invited to the session. The Facilitator vividly advised the government to refrain from amending the constitution. It is worth mentioning that on 16 February 2017 the government deliberated on the creation of a commission charged with amending the constitution.
Over the weekend, the government also organized rallies aimed at protesting against the peace talks. Some placards read: "Burundians will never accept negotiations involving the enemies of democracy" whereas Ligue Izere suggested a list of people that should be arrested.

Burundian Refugees resist forced return
The government of Burundi is campaigning for the return of refugees. While visiting Burundi on 14-17 September 2016, the Ugandan Minister in charge of refugee affairs stated that he will launch a two thematic campaign labelled "Go and See" and "Tell what you see" intended to convince Burundian refugees to voluntarily return . In that light, the Minister of Home affairs of Burundi, Pascal Barandagiye visited Burundian refugees in Nakivale settlement on 15 February 2017. As he tried to convince refugees that the situation has improved and that they should return, the Minister was challenged by a crowd of people that peacefully demonstrated and displayed songs opposing Burundi government and the Burundian President Nkurunziza whom they presented as the source of their plight.

Anti –negotiations protests in Bujumbura on 18 February 2017. Credit: Ikiriho on twitter

As controversy rose between Ugandan authorities regarding the management of matters related to Burundian refugees, the Commissioner for Refugees of the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr Kazungu Apollo, released a press statement clarifying the position of the Government of Uganda who assured that the Burundian refugees will continue to enjoy asylum in Uganda till such a time that the conditions that led to their flight have changed to their satisfaction and that it is safe for them to return in safety and dignity.
EALA Petitioned on Burundi
On 15 February 2017, eleven Burundian NGOs petitioned the Speaker of the East African Legislative assembly (EALA) regarding deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situations in Burundi. The NGOs listed a number of requests including, the demand that the House to hold a public hearing in Arusha that would welcome Burundian and East African Citizens to testify to the occurrence of human rights abuses in Burundi and make proposals for the resolution of the crisis. The petitioners also demanded the House to urgently demand the Government of Burundi to reinstate banned and suspended NGOs; the reparation of destroyed media outlets and cancellation of measures banning independent media from working. They also demanded the House to urgently request the government to refrain from amending the constitution during the crisis period.
The petitioners demanded the House to undertake urgent investigation on the state of the movement of displacement within Burundi and neighboring countries and to support the UN Human rights council appointed commission of inquiry on Burundi.

Burundi under spot in Canada

Based on evidence heard by the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development during the course of its September and October 2016 study on the human rights situation in Burundi, the Subcommittee made 18 recommendations towards the government of Canada : among which is that the government of Canada to monitor, to the best of its ability, the ethnic aspects of Burundi's human rights situation and respond to any escalation of ethnically charged rhetoric from the Government of Burundi or opposition groups by publicly condemning such actions and by urging the United Nations Security Council to take measures that would prevent the commission of acts of genocide.

The Parliament also recommended the government to continue to provide financial and political support to Burundian civil society organizations, including by advocating for their protection through all available diplomatic channels. It recommended to develop an action plan to support the resettlement of Burundian asylum-seekers in Canada, and maintain the existing moratorium on deporting failed refugee claimants to Burundi until a political settlement is determined to be sustainable.

Indeed, the Parliament recommended the government to strongly advocate for the UN Security Council to take action by imposing targeted economic sanctions and travel bans against Burundian officials and others who commit human rights violations or impede a peaceful political settlement, and implement these sanctions under Canadian law.

Continued killings and gunshots

Some of the reported cases of killings and gunshots during the period report include:
• On 12 February 2017, intensive gunshots were reported in Mugano in the District of Buraza
• On 14 February 2017, an armed attack at the residence of Jean Baptiste Sibomana in in Rubirizi in the District of Mutimbuzi resulted in two persons including his wife being killed whereas he Jean Baptiste was wounded
• On 14 February 2017, Gérard Ntikazohera slain body was found in a sugar plantation situated in the Distict of Gihanga
• On 12 February 2017, taxi driver Moussa Nsabimana was killed by unknown persons on the road Muyinga-Ngozi
• On 17 February 2017, a dead body of Emmanuel Manirakiza was recovered in Kajaga in the District of Mutimbuzi
• On 18 February 2017, a tied dead body of Lydia Nibogora was recovered in Kanyosha in the city of Bujumbura

Picture 3. Dead body of Lydia Nibogora recovered in Kanyosha on 18 February 2017. Credit: Mutama on twitter

Arbitrary arrests and abduction
Continued arrests and abduction were reported during the period report:

• On 12 February 2017, two youths namely Elvis Mbogoye and Jean Paul Nduwimana were abducted from Kinanira by an unknown person driving a car with tinted windows.
• On 14 February 2017, a huge police raid was operated in Kinanira where several houses were searched including those belonging to high ranked army officers
• On 14 February 2017, Simon Berahino working with the Tribunal of Kayanza was arrested and detained in Ngozi for he is accused of insulting the President
• On 15 February 2017, three(3) persons were arrested in Gasenyi in the District of Buganda
• On 17 February 2017, a young person known as Yves was abducted by unknown people from Kinanira 8th street and taken ton unknown destination
• On 18 February 2017, a Police search was operated in Mpimba. Several items including, sugar, bier, empty bottles, drugs and cell phones were found
• On 18 February 2017, five(5) persons were abducted by the NIS agents from Cibitoke of the City of Bujumbura

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