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On Burundi UN Guterres Failure Has Rights Office Closing Mourned By Bachelet Silent on Censorship

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photo, Video, CJR

UNITED NATIONS GATE, March 5 – Burundi's Pierre Nkununziza government wanted all human rights presence out. Typically, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said nothing meaningful. Now it has happened, on February 28. And on March 5 this from the Human Rights Commissioner  he picked, Michelle Bachelet, and who stays silent on Guterres' censorship of Press: "UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet today announced, with deep regret, that the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was closed down on Thursday 28 February at the insistence of the Government.  “It is with deep regret that we have had to close our office in Burundi after a 23-year presence in the country,” Bachelet said. “Since the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was established in 1995, for many years we worked with the Government on peacebuilding, security sector reform, justice sector reform and helped build institutional and civil society capacity on a whole host of human rights issues.”  The UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was set up in 1995, in the context of massive human rights violations perpetrated in the country following the assassination of then President Melchior Ndadaye. The Office helped ensure the incorporation of a human rights dimension to the implementation of the Arusha Agreement, which was the bedrock of the country's stability for many years. The Office played a leading role in the establishment of the independent National Commission on Human Rights, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in legislative reforms and in the emergence of strong civil society organizations.  “Unfortunately, many of these human rights gains have been seriously jeopardized since 2015,” Bachelet said.... “Even as our Office in Burundi closes, we will continue to explore other ways to work to shed light on human rights concerns and support the advocacy, promotion and protection of human rights in the country,” she said." How does Bachelet have credibility on Burundi if she allows Guterres to ban Inner City Press from her own OHCHR events in the UN? On December 6, the day after Guterres like any dictator moved from his Mercedes with guards to a fancy dinner refusing a Press questions about corruption in his organization, Inner City Press asked Guterres and his spokesmen: "December 6-1: On Burundi, on which you have been refusing to respond to Inner City Press' written questions, please immediately confirm or deny that Burundi has asked the UN system to decrease its human rights presence and state the SG's view and response. Also, what is the UN's comment on the reporting about the Nkurunziza government's “torture house”?" Still, no answer at all, despite USG Alison Smale's promises such questions would be answered. Now only through regional media we learned that Guterres' part time Burundi envoy Michel Kafando used public funds to visit Uganda's Museveni on January 31 and, according to the story, praise him for his tireless efforts on Burundi? Really? How? On February 19 at a UNSC press encounter Inner City Press was banned from for the 230th day in a row by Guterres, South Africa's Permanent Representative told those present that the UN and the African Union should "help Burundi to move on," and said the East African Community and the AU are capable of managing the situation. No one there asked him any follow up questions. Then Kafando said "Je me suis ensuite rendu le 31 Janvier 2019 a Kampala pour une visite de travail avec le President Museveni, Mediateur du Dialogue inter-burundais. Cette rencontre m'a permis de reiterer au President Museveni, le soutien du Secrtaire general." This as Museveni's foreign minister Sam Kutesa took $500,000 from UN briber CEFC China Energy, to which Guterres himself is connected, and roughs up and bans the Press which asks. This is thuggery. And UN  Spokesman Stephane Duajrric said on camera he would be answering questions, here. Now this, from Burundi: "President Pierre Nkurunziza says he has given wealth to Burundians since 2002, he wants to be thanked. Thus, offerings in money, livestock or food products are collected throughout the provinces and have been used for some time. A crusade of prayer and collection of offerings was organized from 24 to 27 January 2019 in Gitega province where President Pierre Nkurunziza was in person. On the basis of the verses of the Old Testament, he compared to Moise and asked the Burundians to offer him offerings. "God said to Moses today in Nkurunziza because two lightnings do not share the sky- give him offerings ... ", said Pierre Nkurunziza in front of a parterre composed of all the high personalities of his diet. At least 1.8 billion Burundian francs were collected during this crusade. In Gitega province, the young Imbonerakure have traveled the town of Gitega from 21 January 2019 to raise money and food. From boutiques to boutiques, from shops to stores, from pharmacies in pharmacies, kiosks in kiosks, ... they required between 2000 and 5000 FBU in failing which they closed the doors. The food traders gave the food. On January 22, 2019, it was the turn of households and services. Every household had to give 2000FBU, and to the service, each employee had to give 2000FBU to his department head responsible for collecting this money. The person who paid this contribution was mentioned on a listing. The one who gave nothing received a very severe warning. This was done in all municipalities of Gitega province. In Rumonge province, the provincial secretary of the ruling party, Diomede Niyonsaba sent invitations to all heads of public and private services, organizations 21 non-governmental organizations and association leaders working in the province for their ask to participate in this presidential crusade, and especially to contribute to its success. According to one of the officials who received this invitation, "it's amazing to be invited and forced to contribute in activities of a political party of which one is not a member." Sounds like Guterres and his UN press corpse.  Nor will Spokesman Stephane Dujarric answer on Guterres obvously incomplete Public Financial Disclosure, here.

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