E. Ndayishimiye: “We are not afraid that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will come to Burundi”

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The East African Community (EAC) is currently trying to defuse tensions between Congolese and Rwandans in eastern DRC over M23 attacks. Burundi currently chairs the East African Organization. In addition to the topic of human rights in the regional context, RFI in Burundi and France 24 are also hosted by the President of Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye. He answers questions from Marc Perelman and Laurent Correau.

Mark Perelman: You currently hold the rotating presidency of the East African Community (EAC). One of your goals is to try to reduce the tension between Rwanda and the DRC. We can see that the situation on the ground remains very tense. Do you think that the conditions for negotiations have been met at the moment? ?

Evariste Ndayishimiye : I can’t say that we are very far. Rather, we are ahead because, first of all, rapprochement in the issue of dialogue and reconciliation between states is a step in the first place. Agree to sit together. Therefore, I think that there is a step forward, an important step. There were many meetings and I saw that the international community is very aware of this process so that we can find peace in this region.

Laurent Correau: And the Congolese government rightly accuses the Rwandan government of supporting M23? ?

IN. : So far, neither the region nor I have made a decision at my level, but we are planning a consultation meeting with the mediator of this conflict, the president of Angola. [Joao Lourenço, NDLR]we will still be able to analyze and see the reality of events.

MP: You are calling the international community to come and help you and invest. But, for example, the budget aid of the European Union has not yet been released. There are always disagreements on the road map. Why? And are you hoping for an agreement on this soon?

IN. : I believe there is no disagreement. We are in further dialogue to see what areas they can support.

MP: When will this agreement with the European Union be?

IN. : When you are [autour] a table, you don’t know when the meeting will end. But the interesting thing is that it attracts everyone and we almost speak the same language. We go together and we will succeed together.

LC: The UN Human Rights Council at its last meeting passed a resolution condemning what it called “ widespread impunity for all human rights violations in your country. It calls on your government to ensure that all those involved in such violations, whether members of the defense and security forces or members of the party’s youth movement, Imbonerakure, are held accountable for their actions. Is this a question you are prepared to answer as the head of state?

IN. : If we talk about this youth, Imbonerakure: today all the youth of the country are mobilized for development. I organize retreats for young intellectuals at least twice a week…

Burundi President Évariste Ndayishimiye during an interview with RFI and France 24 on the sidelines of the La Francophonie summit in Djerba, Tunisia. © RFI

LC: And you dispute the scale of the human rights violations that this commission denounces?

IN.: No, really, so far they haven’t shown me where human rights have been violated. I know that no one commits a crime and goes unpunished. And really, there, I put myself into it. You know, I have given my phone number, my WhatsApp number to all citizens, that is, whenever human rights are violated, they report everywhere, always, and I have to follow. What should an outsider know that I don’t know? I think they are counter-propaganda detractors.

LC: And are you ready to welcome an observer from the UN Human Rights Commission so that he can see all this in Burundi? ?

IN. : I don’t know if you heard my speech at the United Nations General Assembly. Because of these people who want to make biased reports, I have asked the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to come to Burundi so that we can sit together and analyze the situation together and see what we are doing. can do to further improve the protection of human rights. Therefore, we are not afraid that the High Commissioner for Human Rights will come to Burundi and we can discuss how to manage human rights issues in my country.

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