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UN's Ban Met Burundi Minister Who Excused Killings, Now Gets Letter

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 15 -- When you go to the UN's 38th floor these days, you might meet a government official who justified the killing of unarmed civilians, having a photo op with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

 So it was on April 14, when Burundi's Minister of the Interior Edouard Nduwimana held a meeting with Ban, his chief of staff and Department of Political Affairs officials. Inner City Press went to the photo op and tweeted out a photo.

 Moments later Inner City Press was made aware that Nduwimana in March 2013 visited the Businde hill where police had just killed nine people, mostly women and child. On video - YouTube here, from Minute 1:41 - Nduwimana told the mourners and survivors, Now you have the martyrs you wanted.

  On April 15, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric why no read-out of the meeting had been given. Dujarric said he had expected one and would try. Finally past 5 pm, more than 24 hours after the meeting, this:

"The Secretary-General met on 14 April 2015 with the Minister of Interior of Burundi, H.E. Mr. Edouard Nduwimana. The Secretary-General noted that Burundi owes its progress to the spirit of Arusha and the determination of Burundians to build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous nation. They discussed recent developments ahead of the general elections to be held between May and August this year.

"The Secretary-General expressed his concern about the rising political tensions in the country and encouraged Burundians to resolve their political differences through dialogue and without resorting to violence. He called on the Government to ensure that the security services manage potential security incidents with the utmost professionalism. He also encouraged the Government to ensure that all political actors are able to participate fully and freely in the electoral process. 'This would contribute to credible elections and reduce further tensions,' the Secretary-General said."

  Meanwhile, Dujarric would not confirm to Inner City Press that Ban has received this letter, in French, from civil society in Burundi:

Les organisations membres de la Campagne " Halte au 3ème Mandat du Président NKURUNZIZA" ont écrit une lettre au Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies et au Président du Conseil de Sécurité pour leur demander avec une grande insistance de voter une résolution sur le Burundi pour :

- Instruire à l'Armée burundaise de désarmer la milice IMBONERAKURE du Parti au Pouvoir CNDD-FDD
- Instruire l'identification et l'arrestation des chefs de la milice
- Instruire à l'Armée burundaise de désarmer toute autre personne ou groupe en possession illégale d'arme à feu

De voter une résolution décidant l'intervention militaire des Nations Unies pour empêcher la commission des crimes contre l'humanité, du nettoyage politique voire du génocide


 We'll have more on this.

  Eighty minutes before Ban's meeting with Nduwimana, he met with Amnesty International. Unlike some other rights groups who crave access, Amnesty authorized Inner City Press, when it asked, to report that the topics covered were "the Human Rights Up Front Initiative, regarding which several country situations were discussed, and the Post-2015 agenda." It is appreciated.

  While Inner City Press was asked if having a "criminal" in the UN is rare, the reality is that, for example, Sri Lanka's Shavendra Silva, named in Ban's own report on war crimes in that country, was allowed to become a UN Senior Adviser on Peacekeeping Operations, run by Herve Ladsous.

 Later on April 14, a mere 95 minutes later to be exact, Ban was to raise a champagne or Prosecco toast to the UN Censorship Alliance, which hosts Shavendra Silva's and Palitha Kohona's screening of their government's war crimes denial film, "Lies Agreed To."

  The then and now president of UNCA had been Kohona's landlord in the past. When Inner City Press in writing called this a conflict of interest, first the move was to try to get Inner City Press thown out of UNCA -- it quit and co-founded the new Free UN Coalition for Access, FUNCA -- then out of the UN as a whole. This is today's UN, and its Censorship Alliance.


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