Tag Archives: Burundi

Burundi demands $43bn reparations for colonialism

Burundi wishes Belgium and Germany to pay $43 billion in reparations for harm done during decades of colonial rule.

The move follows similar calls for compensation by the Democratic Republic of Congo after Belgian King Philippe in June offered his “deepest regrets” over his nation’s colonial past in the Congo.

Burundi also intends to recuperate from Belgium and Germany the archival material and objects expropriated between 1899 and 1962, Senate President Reverien Ndikuriyo told senators in the capital, Gitega, on Thursday, August 13. In 2018, the Senate appointed a panel including historians and anthropologists to investigate the impact of colonialism rule on the nation.

Much of Burundi’s present-day political challenges can be traced back to a decree by Belgian King Albert I to classify the population along three ethnic groups, according to Aloys Batungwanayo, a historian and doctoral researcher at the Lausanne University.

“It is this decree that has led to conflicts in Burundi and the region because some of the population was excluded from the ruling class because of the decree,” Batungwanayo said in the commercial hub Bujumbura, Bloomberg reports.

The Black Lives Matter movement has stirrred the debate about racism in the West, and in the sub-Saharan Africa much of the experts has focused on the legacy of colonialism.

The demands of reparations conicided with the request of the Council of Ministers of the East Africa Comminity (EAC) to Burundi to disburse the outstanding budgetary contributions ($6.5 million) by September 15, to enable the EAC organs and Institutions discharge their mandate.

The East Africa Community’s 41st Extraordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers was held on August 4, under the chairmanship of Rwanda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Vincent Biruta. “The Secretariat as well as the other organs and institutions are already experiencing liquidity challenges,” said Mr Biruta in the report. “A number of providers of goods and services need to be paid. Some activities are being put on hold until the partner states disburse the outstanding contribution.”

Burundi President calls opponents to return

After new President of Burundi Evariste Ndayishimiye was sworn in early following the sudden death of his predecessor, he promised to unite the country that has been cut off by the intrnaiotnal aid donors due to endemic human rights abuses.

Ndayishimiye, 52, a retired army general, was declared the last month’s presidential election winner as the ruling party’s candidate, defeating the opposition’s Agathon Rwasa and five others. In accordance with the procedures, he had been due to take office in August, but the sudden death of Pierre Nkurunziza this month opened his way forward.

“I will defend Burundi’s sovereignty and ensure freedom of every Burundian citizen and protection,” Ndayishimiye said at the ceremony in Gitega – the political capital of the country.

New President urged people who had fled the country, including critics of politics and human rights activists, to return.

“What did those who went to complain to the world, get? I rather call on them to come back,” Ndayishimiye said.

Ndayishimiye headed the department of military affairs under late President Nkurunziza, and served as minister of the interior and security.

The United Nations said in recent years that under Nkurunziza’s rule members of the state security forces and the ruling party’s youth wing routinely gang-raped, tortured and killed political opponents.

Burundi, the nation of 11 million people is one of the world’s poorest countries. It became an international pariah after Nkurunziza crushed protests triggered by his decision to run for a third term in 2015.

Burundi President-elect starts mandate

Burundi’s constitutional court has agreed that President-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye should be sworn in immediately following the sudden death of Pierre Nkurunziza, the government said in a statement posted to Twitter on June 12.

The Constitution provides for the speaker of parliament to take over in such a situation. The court ruled, however, that “the interim period is not necessary and that … Ndayishimiye must be sworn in as soon as possible”, the government said.

However there is the growing suspicion that the COVID-19 outbreak in Burundi will further disrupt public life. The social media persisting reports indicate that premature death of President Nkurunziza and his family members were caused by neglect of the coronavirus hazard.

Whatever happening in Burundi was quite predictable. Pierre Nkurunziza ignored WHO guidelines. He assumed that COVID-19 never existed, nobody in Bujumbura raised a voice! Pierre dead, his mother too; his wife & sister $ President-elect admitted [to hospital]…” independent journalist Abuga Makori writes.

EU looking forward to new history of Burundi

In relation with an official period of mourning for Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza on 10 June, starting a day after the announcement of his death from a heart attack aged 55, the European diplomacy has expressed the condolences to the authorities and people of Burundi, and also expressed willingness to cooperate on new chapter in the history of the country on basis of reciprocity.

The European Union presents its condolences to the authorities and people of Burundi, and encourages all the political players preserve the peaceful climate and respect the legal and Constitutional framework in these circumstances, awaiting the investiture of the new President” the European External Action Service spokesperson said, commenting on the situation.

Furthermore the Hight Représentative [Josep Borrell] in his statement two days ago said the the elections and the peaceful transfer of power could open a new page in the history of Burundi, and the European Union is ready to contribute in this new chapter in the history of the country, alongside with our international and regional players, and based on reciprocity principle”, she underlined.

Wearing face masks and gloves to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, senior government officials, foreign diplomats and religious leaders lined up to sign a condolence book opened in his memory at the presidential palace.
Multiple diplomatic sources indicated the late President suffered difficulty to breeze, consistent with the coronavirus pneumonia symptoms when he was rushed to hospital in Karuzi. The officials frantically tried to transport him to Nairobi or Dar es-Salaam hospitals, however this condition deteriorated dramatically and efforts of Burundi medics to save Nkurunziza life failed.

Nkurunziza’s spouse, Denise Bucumi, has been absent. Air ambulance service AMREF had flown her to Nairobi on May 21 for medical treatment, but declined to confirm widespread reports in Kenyan media that this was am emergency treatment for COVID-19 pneumonia.

Late President Nkurunziza‘s 15 years in office had been marred throughout by allegations of massive human rights abuses and muzzling of the press, as well as the opression of critics and opposition.

His death, however, plays into his successor’s hands, according to Thierry Vircoulon, a Burundi expert at the International Crisis Group.

There was naturally a question after the election of what roll Pierre Nkurunziza would play — if he would be an obstacle for the new president or, on the other hand, if the men would reach an understanding,” Vircoulon told DW.

That’s a question and post-election scenario that is no longer needs to be asked. The new president of the old regime will have a completely free hand.”

Nkurunziza had been due to stand down in August, making way for retired general Evariste Ndayishimiye, who was declared as a winner of the election last month, the result that the opposition said was marred by violence and fraud.

However the Constitutional court last week rejected opposition complaint of the rigging charges.

Image: EEAS courtesy – Virginie Battu-Henriksson Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy

Burundi mourns President NkurunzizaNkurunziza

Burundi began an official mourning for President Pierre Nkurunziza on June 10 a day after the announcement of his sudden death from a heart attack aged 55, leaving in shock the East African nation he had ruled with an iron grip for last 15 years.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed were among the first world leaders to express their condolences June 9 evening, with Kenyatta hailing Nkurunziza’s “contribution to the integration and progress of the region”.

Nkurunziza, 55, started to feel unwell after attending a volleyball match on June 6, and appeared to be improving until his condition suddenly deteriorated on June 8 and his heart stopped, the presidency announced in a statement.

Despite intense efforts, the medical team was not able to save the patient,” said the statement, adding that doctors had spent several hours trying to revive him. A post on the government’s official Twitter account early Tuesday evening announced Nkurunziza‘s death “with great sadness“, and a statement from the presidency said he died in a hospital in the eastern city of Karuzi.

Nkurunziza’s wife, Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza, has been transported to Kenya for Covid-19, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Burundi: ruling party celebrates victory

Burundi’s ruling party candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye has won the presidential election with 68.72% of votes cast, the electoral commission said on May 25, after multiple accusations of rigging by the leading opposition challenger.

The commission said opposition candidate Agathon Rwasa got 24.19% of votes. There was a turnout of 87.71%.

The vote to replace President Pierre Nkurunziza was preceded by a wave of political violence including the arrest, torture and murder of opposition activists, according to a local rights group.

There was also controversy over holding the election during the global coronavirus crisis.

Hundreds of Burundians were killed and hundreds of thousands fled into exile after unrest surrounding the last election in 2015, when the opposition accused Nkurunziza of violating a peace deal by standing for a third term.

Rwasa has previously said he would take his complaints to the constitutional court, though it is overwhelmed with the president’s allies. He was not immediately available for comment on the elections results announcement.

Five other candidates also stood in the polls, in which 5.11 million registered voters were eligible to participate.

Burundi: EU calls for peaceful elections

Tomorrow, millions of voters will go to the polls in Burundi, at the end of an electoral campaign marked by great citizen involvement, despite several incidents. On the eve of this important meeting, the European Union calls on all political actors to honor the commitments made in the electoral code of conduct signed in December 2019 and thus contribute to the holding of free, transparent, credible and peaceful elections”, says the statement of the European diplomatcy spokesperson (EEAS).

“The European Union fully associates itself with the Joint Commission Communiqué of the African Union and the United Nations Secretariat, calling on “all political actors to refrain from any act of violence, hate speech and to favor dialogue”. “The Burundian population, whom the European Union has continuously supported, must have their aspirations recognized and it is therefore essential that the electoral process goes smoothly and without violence”.

ORIGINAL VIDEO:

https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu:443/en/video/I-191419?&lg=OR

MEPs criticise Nigeria and Burundi

16.01.2020 Strasbourg The European Parliament adopted two resolutions on monitoring respect to the human rights and rule of law situation in Nigeria and Burundi.

Nigeria

Following the recent terrorist attacks in the country, the European Parliament strongly condemns the repeated violations of human rights and international and humanitarian law, ‘’whether based on religion or ethnicity’’. MEPs urge the Nigerian authorities to guarantee respect for human rights and to protect the civilian population from terrorism and violence. The fight against impunity is fundamental to the stability of the country and to building lasting peace, MEPs say.

The situation in Nigeria has significantly deteriorated over the last few years, posing a serious threat to international and regional security. Recent killings are part of a wider series of terrorist acts, including the attack on 24 December 2019 on a village near Chibok that resulted in the death of seven villagers and the kidnapping of a teenage girl.

The text was adopted by show of hands. For more details, the full resolution will be available here (16.01.2020).

Burundi

MEPs strongly condemn the current restrictions on freedom of expression in Burundi, including the limitations placed on public freedom, large-scale violations of human rights, the intimidation and arbitrary arrests of journalists and broadcast bans. They recall that Burundi is bound by the human rights clause of the Cotonou agreement and therefore urge the country’s authorities to immediately revert this abusive trend and to uphold its human rights obligations.

Civil society and journalists play a vital role in a democratic society, MEPs say, particularly in the context of upcoming elections in Burundi. The European Parliament calls on the Burundian authorities to stop intimidating, harassing, and arbitrarily arresting journalists, human rights activists and members of the opposition, including those returning from exile.

Image above: MEP Assita KANKO, Strasbourg Plenary.

Tanzania repatriates 200th Burundians

Tanzania intends to deport up to 200,000 refugees from Burundi in coming months. Burundi agreed to the plan, but the UN’s refugee agency has objected, insisting on voluntary, but not forced returns.

Nearly 600 Burundian refugees were repatriated on October 3. They make up the first large group as part of a mass repatriation operation that began this week.

Nestor Bimenyimana, Burundi’s general manager for repatriation, said the refugees are returning voluntarily because the country’s security and political conditions have improved dramatically, less than a year before the country’s May 2020 presidential election.

The speaker for the Burundian Ministry of Public Security explained that only those Burundians denied asylum would be repatriated. His assistant said that some 15,000 such people are currently residing in Tanzania despite not having UNHCR refugee status: “Tanzania asked for the repatriation, and ministers from both countries agreed to register those individuals and repatriate them to Burundi. These are not Burundian refugees in Tanzania, but simply Burundians. They never had UNHCR refugee status, and they will be returned to Burundi.”

https://twitter.com/msf/status/1061720721150349312?s=21

`

EU €34.275M aid to Great Lakes region

This week the European Commission has announced €34.275 million in humanitarian funding to help the most vulnerable people in the Great Lakes region in Africa. The aid will mainly help address urgent humanitarian needs in the Democratic Republic of Congo and provide continued support to Burundian refugees in the region.

Food insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo is worsening the humanitarian situation. We are stepping up support, including in the eastern conflict-torn part of the country, affected by the Ebola epidemic. We also maintain our solidarity with Burundian refugees in the region. Our new aid package will provide emergency healthcare, improve hygiene conditions and access to clean water, provide protection, and give education to children caught in these crises,” said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management and EU Ebola coordinator.

The bulk of the funding announced supports humanitarian measures in the Democratic Republic of Congo (€29.375 million) and refugees from Burundi in Tanzania and Rwanda (€4.3 million). The remaining €600,000 are allocated to UN agencies in Burundi and to help refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo in neighbouring Republic of Congo.

Africa’s Great Lakes region continues to face armed conflicts and insecurity, leading to forced displacements, food shortages and malnutrition, and recurrent outbreaks of epidemics and natural disasters. The funding announced today brings the overall amount of EU humanitarian aid in the Great Lakes region in 2019 to €69.74 million.

« Older Entries