Hundreds of Torture Cases in Burundi Since January According to the UN

At least 345 cases of torture or inhuman treatment were registered by the UN in 2016 in Burundi. This brings the number to 600 in the past twelve months.

April 26th, 2016

Since Pierre Nkurunziza, Burundi’s disputed President, won a third term, the country plunged in a violent political crisis. The government has been accused of being responsible of arbitrary arrests, disappearances and deaths by local demonstrators as well as by international organizations like Amnesty International. Reportedly, the government’s security forces don’t need a warrant to arrest someone and don’t always take them to official jails but to unofficial cells that are said to be death chambers. The population is now living in the fear of the government’s security forces.

 On April the 18th, the UN released a file reporting at least 345 cases of torture or inhuman treatment in the country since the beginning of the year. The UN is regretting the generalized remedy of this practices and the total impunity in which the security forces of Pierre Nkurunzia are operating. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the current United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that « Torture and ill-treatment mainly take place at the time of arrest, upon arrival or during detention, especially in facilities run by the Service national de reassignments (SNR), the police and, to a lesser extent, the army. Perpetrators of torture and ill-treatment have so far enjoyed total impunity » and is also very concerned by the reports about the existence of secret detention facilities across the country.

 During a visit of the High Commissioner’s team in a building of the government’s security forces, 30 of the 67detainees were showing physical signs of torture like fresh wounds or inability to walk without assistance. Most of them said that they were denied any medical treatment during their detention and that they were tortured to make them confess that they were supporting rebel groups or to provide names of people supporting them. The UN’s report also mentions members of the police and of the army being arrested or killed by other members of the government’s forces.

Pierre Nkurunziza’s desire to stay in power is severely hurting Burundi’s population and the political crisis is likely to intensify if this kind of actions by the government’s security forces persist.

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Cultural Diplomacy News
Pierre Even, CD News