GENEVA / BURUNDI HUMAN RIGHTS

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04-Sep-2019 00:03:10
Less than a year ahead of Burundi’s presidential, parliamentary and local elections in May 2020, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi (COIB) raised red flags at the serious human rights violations committed in the pre-electoral climate. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / BURUNDI HUMAN RIGHTS
TRT: 3:10
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / FRENCH / NATS

DATELINE: 4 SEPTEMBER 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, Exterior
2. Wide shot, press briefing room
3. Wide shot, press briefing room
4. SOUNDBITE (French) Doudou Diène, Chair Commission of the UN Commission of Inquiry for Burundi:
“Burundi is entering in a risky phase. Elections that are marked by the fact that the President of the Republic has declared not being any longer candidate – although there are doubts about this - but he has it declared, and where no more mechanisms to observe or monitor the human rights violations in Burundi exists.”
5. Close up, journalist writing
6. SOUNDBITE (French) Doudou Diène, Chair Commission of the UN Commission of Inquiry for Burundi:
“Serious human rights violations and possible international crimes have been committed since May 2018 in the context of the preparation of the elections in 2020.”
7. Med shot, journalists
8. SOUNDBITE (French) Doudou Diène, Chair Commission of the UN Commission of Inquiry for Burundi:
"The acts that illustrate these violations are summary executions, disappearances including enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, cases of torture and ill-treatment, and sexual violence."
9. Med shot, podium
10. SOUNDBITE (French) Francoise Hampson, Member of the UN Commission of Inquiry for Burundi:
"There is the personal drift of the authority of the Head of State, there is an instrumentalization of history for political ends, there is the absence of real processes of reconciliation and transitional justice for the most serious atrocities.”
11. Med shot, journalist typing
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Francoise Hampson, Member of the UN Commission of Inquiry for Burundi:
“The elements of risk do not claim to predict either that something will happen or if it does when or if it does how nor does it predict what form it will take. The crisis in Burundi is essentially a political crisis.”
13. Wide shot, camera people
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Francoise Hampson, Member of the UN Commission of Inquiry for Burundi:
“Because the head of State is responsible for how the system is run and for how the space in which the Imbonerakure can act.”
15. Med shot, spokesperson
16. SOUNDBITE (French) Doudou Diène, Chair Commission of the UN Commission of Inquiry for Burundi:
"Burundians repatriated as part of the support program between Tanzania, Burundi and UNHCR face a general climate of hostility and suspicion in their homes, and some have been victims of serious human rights violations, and many of them felt obliged to flee the country again."
17. Wide shot, journalists
18. SOUNDBITE (French) Doudou Diène, Chair Commission of the UN Commission of Inquiry for Burundi:
"The result of our analysis shows that the risks are real and serious. They demand that the international community remain vigilant and closely monitor the situation in Burundi. "
19. Various shots, journalists

STORYLINE:

Less than a year ahead of Burundi’s presidential, parliamentary and local elections in May 2020, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi (COIB) raised red flags at the serious human rights violations committed in the pre-electoral climate.

In its report released today ( 04 Sep) at the United Nations in Geneva, the COIB concludes the existence of a climate of fear and intimidation of all persons who do not show their support to the ruling party, CNDD-FDD. Members of its youth league, the “Imbonerakure”, agents of the National Intelligence Service and of the police, and local authorities continue to commit human rights serious violations against Burundi citizens in all corners of the country.

Speaking to the media at the UN in Geneva, Doudou Diène, Chair Commission of the UN Commission of Inquiry for Burundi said that “Burundi is entering in a risky phase. Elections that are marked by the fact that the President of the Republic has declared not being any longer candidate – although there are doubts about this - but he has it declared, and where no more mechanisms to observe or monitor the human rights violations in Burundi exists.”

The COIB chair added that “serious human rights violations and possible international crimes have been committed since May 2018 in the context of the preparation of the elections in 2020.”

The Commission details in its report how local authorities and Imbonerakure are intimidating the local population to force them to join, support and contribute to the ruling party. Women and girls are gang raped by Imbonerakure during attacks of their homes or while trying to flee the country.

The report describes the alarming violence with "acts that illustrate these violations are summary executions, disappearances including enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, cases of torture and ill-treatment, and sexual violence."

Francoise Hampson, Member of the UN Commission of Inquiry for Burundi is concerned about "the personal drift of the authority of the Head of State, there is an instrumentalization of history for political ends, there is the absence of real processes of reconciliation and transitional justice for the most serious atrocities”.

She added that “the post of the head of state is responsible for how the system is run and for how the space in which the Imbonerakure can act”.

Given the politically sensitive electoral period ahead, the COIB applied the “Framework of analysis for atrocity crimes” developed in 2014 by the UN Office for the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect, and found that the eight common risk factors for criminal atrocities are present in Burundi.

Hampson said, “the elements of risk do not claim to predict either that something will happen or if it does when or if it does how nor does it predict what form it will take. The crisis in Burundi is essentially a political crisis.”

A new element in the crisis is the repatriation of Burundian refugees as the Chair of the Commission explains. "Burundians repatriated as part of the support program between Tanzania, Burundi and UNHCR face a general climate of hostility and suspicion in their homes, and some have been victims of serious human rights violations, and many of them felt obliged to flee the country again."

The Commission being currently the only independent international mechanism investigating human rights violations and abuses committed in Burundi concludes that "the result of our analysis shows that the risks are real and serious. They demand that the international community remain vigilant and closely monitor the situation in Burundi. "

The Commission of Inquiry will submit its report to the Human Rights Council during an inter-active dialogue, which will take place on 17 September in Geneva.
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