The world must not betray Burundians – as was the case with Rwandans in 1994

The silence on the Burundi situation is another betrayal. Today, the modus operandi that led to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda is being implemented in Burundi.
Members of Imbonerakure, an extremist youth wing of Burundi's ruling party CNND-FDD. / Internet photo
Members of Imbonerakure, an extremist youth wing of Burundi's ruling party CNND-FDD. / Internet photo

Editor,

RE: “Early release of genocide criminals one more betrayal” (The New Times, April 21).

The silence on the Burundi situation is another betrayal. Today, the modus operandi that led to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda is being implemented in Burundi. Government officials there are arming and training a criminal militia, “Imbonerakure”, on the model of the alter ego “Interahamwe” in the run up to the Genocide of the Tutsi.

The international community continues to close its eyes on this second genocide in the region that is being prepared in Burundi. Big powers are vetoing any UN Security Council resolution that seeks to prevent the slaughter of the Tutsi in Burundi as was the case for Rwanda.

And, regional countries cannot agree on the gravity of the situation and the action needed to be taken as was the case with Rwanda.

The recently government-organised youth demonstration calling for mass rape of Tutsi women so they can give birth to Imbonerakure in Burundi is another indisputable evidence of the intent to annihilate the Tutsi there. We all remember the violence that primarily targeted Rwandan women in 1994 — the same violence model is being chanted in broad day light in the streets of Burundi.

Again, the world is silently watching – until the time of the irreparable. Similarities with what happened in Rwanda over 2 years ago are endless.

Burundi, as a sovereign state, has failed in its obligation and primary responsibility to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The international community must protect the Tutsi in Burundi and the Burundian population in general against mass killings under the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine.

EAC is already bearing the cost of Burundian refugees and needs to take the lead and emulate its sister regional bloc, ECOWAS, and actively engage the UN and the AU with concrete proposals.

Tomorrow will be too late and another betrayal will be equally shameful. No one will say that they did not know. The region should avoid another genocide at all costs.

Bela

 

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