Rights Activist: More Than 1,000 Killed In Burundi Crisis

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Burundi’s most prominent human rights activist says more than 1,000 people have been killed over the last year in the country.

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa told the UN on Wednesday the estimate it gave last month is less than half the total death toll tallied since Burundi’s conflict broke out last April. He also revealed another 800 people are missing and 5,000 have been imprisoned.

 

A population of fear

“Today, the entire population lives in fear,” said at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday.

The figures raised by the Burundi activist suggest the UN’s estimations have been gravely short – something that won’t surprise many. The security council says more than 400 people have been killed since Burundi plunged into crisis last year but Mbonimpa puts the figure closer to 1,100, insisting it could be even higher.

Mbonimpa himself has suffered personally from the Burundi crisis as well.

“I am also suffering personally,” he told reporters. “I have lost my child and also my son-in-law.”

Mbonimpa’s son was killed in the country’s capital last year, his body found just four hours after he had been arrested. This came only a month after unidentified gunmen killed his son in law.

 

Human rights violations growing

Mbonimpa isn’t the only activist speaking out about the growing human rights violations taking place in Burundi. Agnes Kiromera Muvira of the Burundi Women and Girls’ Movement for Peace and Security has suggested figures that indicate 120 women and girls who have been sexually assaulted during the crisis is another underestimate.

She says many victims won’t report the attacks due to a sense of shame, fear of the authorities and the belief no justice will be delivered. She urged the UN to act on recommendations for an independent police to be deployed in the country and refuted government claims the country has been stabilised.

 

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