Burundi: Human rights record "shows no improvement"
|Publisher||Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)|
|Publication Date||23 July 2008|
|Cite as||Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Burundi: Human rights record "shows no improvement", 23 July 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/488f1809c.html [accessed 18 December 2014]|
BUJUMBURA, 23 July 2008 (IRIN) - At least 400 people were killed in the first quarter of 2008, which indicates that Burundi's human rights record has failed to improve this year, according to Iteka, a rights group.
All the country's provinces were affected by violence, particularly Bujumbura Rural, Bubanza and Cibitoke, where the rebel Forces nationales de libération (FNL) have been active, Iteka stated in its report for 2007 and the first quarter of 2008.
Addressing a news conference on 21 July, Iteka chairman David Nahimana said the "killing is mainly blamed on the armed banditry, which claimed 223 victims".
However, Nahimana said: "The police and the army also account for 31 and 48 cases respectively, while FNL is blamed for 47 cases."
On 22 July, Lt-Col Adolphe Manirakiza, the army spokesman, rejected Iteka's allegations, saying the army was not killing civilians.
"The author of the report is the only one responsible for its content," Manirakiza said. "Whenever a soldier is held responsible for a killing, whether by indiscipline or misconduct, he is seriously sanctioned before the military jurisdictions."
Iteka also deplored the fact that sexual violence remained rampant. The group registered some 455 women and girl victims of rape, the majority younger than 12.
According to Nahimana, sexual violence was on the increase because perpetrators were not punished sufficiently. He added that victims' fear of reporting rape crimes and lack of support from the community were contributing factors.
Among other recommendations, Iteka urged the government to speed up the disarmament of the civilian populations and establish protective measures for vulnerable groups and to enact severe punishment for sexual crimes.