Serious violations mar upcoming Burundi elections

Burundi's Imbonerakure

Burundi’s Imbonerakure

from OMEGA SSUUNA in Bujumbura, Burundi
BUJUMBURA, (CAJ News) THE killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrests, ill-treatment, torture and rape against actual or alleged political opposition members by government loyalists have cast doubt over the prospects of Burundi holding credible elections in May.

Imbonerakure, the youth militia aligned to the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy–Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) are blamed for most of the human rights violations.

Following the violations, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Burundi (COIB) has launched an appeal to the international community to join forces to encourage the Burundian Government to reopen the democratic, civil and political space in the east African country.

The commission has also raised concern at the increase of hate speech with political and/or ethnic dimensions that circulates unrestricted on social media and the silence of the Burundian authorities in this matter.

It is feared these create an environment conducive to violence and human rights violations.

In a move denounced as a violation of media, four journalists from Iwacu, one of the last independent media operating in the East African country, were recently sentenced to prison.

A sharp downturn in the economic situation is aggravating the human rights situation in the East African nation.

The economy has plummeted since 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza forced a new term against the constitutional two-year term.

Nkurunziza’s party has announced its Secretary-General, Evariste Ndayishimiye, as the candidate for the upcoming polls.

Agathon Rwasa, a former rebel leader and a longtime rival of Nkurunziza, is again aiming for the presidential post.

– CAJ News

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