Demonstrators had banners on which we could read “Stop dividing Burundian people”, “UN experts are liars,” or “The experts are manipulated.”

One of protestors told reporters that they are demonstrating to denounce the “biased” report produced by three UN independent experts.

“In reality, there is no genocide. I am a Tutsi and a real Tutsi born in Burundi. Hutus and Tutsis live in harmony. The army and police bodies are balanced in terms of ethnic participation. The same applies in the public administration. Therefore, there is no reason for a genocide,” said Richard Ngendakumana, one of the protestors.

The demonstration started Wednesday with only one protestor – Jean Luc Ndikumwenayo – who called himself a Tutsi, protesting against the report that raises the risk of a genocide against the Tutsi minority group in Burundi if preventive measures are not taken.

While the Burundian government acknowledges that there were violations of human rights since April last year, Burundian Human Rights Minister Martin Nivyabandi deplored, in a press conference on Thursday, that the report is a “political one rather than a technical one.”

“The government does not deny that there are violations of human rights. As it is the case in other countries, we have some challenges that we have to address as a government and everybody is invited to be involved in this process of protection and promotion of human rights,” said Burundian Human Rights Minister Martin Nivyabandi.

He indicated that the experts should not have suggested the cancellation of the participation of Burundi at the UN Human Rights Council.

“They proposed that Burundi must be removed from the UN Human Rights Council. Those are elements that show us that it is a politically-guided report. The report targets a political process, but all that is very important is that we will be in Geneva by Sept. 27 and we will give the true version of facts which occurred in Burundi during the period covered by the report,” said Nivyabandi.

Three UN independent experts had been to Burundi twice in March and June this year.

The third visit due this month could not take place for security reasons.

The report issued in Geneva, Switzerland, covering a period ranging from April 15, 2015 to June 30, 2016, documented 564 executions committed by the government and affiliated groups.

It also revealed assassinations, arbitrary detention, torture and sexual violence.

According to the report, executions have been committed on a large scale by security forces, often supported by the ruling party’s youth wing known as Imbonerakure, adding that the majority of the victims were opposed, or perceived to be opposed, to the third term of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Burundi plunged in a crisis since April 2015 when Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial third term despite the national constitution and the 2000 Arusha Agreement.

Since the outbreak of the crisis, some 270,000 Burundian people fled to neighboring countries mostly Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/News Ghana

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