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In Burundi, Radio Told Not to Live-Stream Crackdown, UN Silent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 26 -- Amid the crackdown after  Pierre Nkurunziza was "nominated to run" for a third terms as President in seeming violation of the Arusha Peace Accord, the UN of Ban Ki-moon has said nothing.

  Perhaps as Ban does more and more, he will "outsource" the UN reaction to Geneva, while he for example cavorts with those who, like in Burundi, go after independent journalists.

  In Burundi, the RPA was raided and told to stop live-streaming the crackdown.

  Ban's office has yet to confirm getting a letter from civil society in Burundi, below, just as it hasn't confirmed a letter from parties in Yemen Inner City Press asked about on April 24. Perhaps both are "lost in the mail" on the 38th floor.

Here is the US' statement on Burundi, just issued:

"The United States deeply regrets the decision by Burundi’s ruling party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy–Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), to disregard the term-limit provisions of the Arusha Agreement by naming  President Pierre Nkurunziza as its candidate for a third presidential term.  With this decision, Burundi is losing an historic opportunity to strengthen its democracy by establishing a tradition of peaceful democratic transition. 

The United States continues to support the Burundian people's peaceful pursuit of their democratic rights and freedoms.  We regret this significant missed opportunity, but the hard work of building democratic practices and institutions must continue.  In that spirit, we urge all parties to participate in the legislative and national elections and ensure these electoral processes are inclusive, transparent, credible, free and conducted in an environment without threats, intimidation, or violence.

We specifically call on the Burundian government to respect the rights of all peaceful political parties and their candidates to campaign, hold meetings and rallies, and express their views.  We also call on the Burundian government to respect the right of the media to report freely on the electoral process and campaigns.  We further urge the government to cooperate fully with the UN Electoral Observer Mission (MENUB) and all international and domestic electoral observers throughout the entire electoral process, as well as on the election days.       

The United States calls on all parties in Burundi to abide by the non-violence charter signed March 9 and refrain from any violent acts, including hate speech or other provocations, that could feed the climate of fear and instability.  We renew our calls on all candidates, their supporters, and Burundian citizens to reject all forms of violence, and on the national police, the Burundian military, and all security force personnel to provide security in an impartial manner throughout the electoral processes.

We commend the neighboring countries for their efforts to receive the almost 15,000 Burundians who have fled the country over the past month, and encourage their continued close coordination with UNHCR and support to provide asylum to those fleeing political violence and persecution. We urge all regional actors to refrain from any acts that could contribute to the climate of instability in Burundi.  

The United States will continue to monitor the situation in Burundi closely and take targeted measures, including, where appropriate, by denying U.S. visas, to hold accountable those individuals who participate in, plan, or order violence against the civilian population.  Violence has no place in democratic elections, and perpetrators of such violence will not be welcome to travel to the United States and risk being held accountable in a court of law for any crimes for which they are responsible."

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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