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COMMUNIQUE OF THE GOVERNMENT

1. The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) in collaboration with the Burundian Human Rights Organization League ITEKA, by its President currently in exile in Rwanda, have recently released an insulting report for Burundi, that they
entitled "Repression and genocidal dynamics in Burundi ".

2. The title itself hints to the state of mind of these organizations which label themselves Human Rights Defenders, but which in reality have never been separated from other political organizations they have been created from with the mission to destabilize and destroy Burundi. This report is therefore a further attempt to destabilize the democratically elected institutions of the Republic of Burundi by wishing to endorse an imaginary genocide against the people of Burundi and its leaders, a stark insult to the people of Burundi who freely established these institutions.

3. In general, this report is only a compilation of other biased reports already produced about Burundi that the Government has repeatedly denounced because they are based on invented allegations.
During the research work on Burundi, the report acknowledges that a mission was deployed from 14 to 24 March 2016 in Burundi and Uganda. There are reasons to wonder whether ten days are enough to claim to have investigated for 24 months. It is therefore justified to believe that this report merely takes ownership other reports published before it and that the report relies only on anonymous testimonies in the image of the previous ones.

4. The report has a single objective : to DIVIDE the people of Burundi and their defence and security forces established on the basis of the Constitution and other agreements concluded between Burundians, in particular the Arusha Accord and the Ceasefire Agreement, presenting the ethnic Tutsi as a species in danger of disappearance in Burundi. This report brandishes the specter of genocide to distract the international opinion in order to hide the true intentions of its sponsors which are none other than achieving the overthrowing of institutions and the establishment of a puppet power serving interests other than those of the people of Burundi.

5. The report itself contains many montages and contradictions. It is indeed surprising that FIDH, which claims to have carried out research work in Burundi for 24 months, neither makes mention of the armed attacks against Burundi in Cibitoke from 31 December 2014 to 02 January 2015 and that of Kayanza on 10 and 11 July 2015, and nor the numerous atrocities committed by the insurgents during the violent demonstrations, including the crimes publicly claimed by their authors on the international media, notably the case of one of the coup leaders, General Léonard NGENDAKUMANA who claimed firing grenades on public venues, including the vegetable market where several women selling fruit were killed.

6. In addition, the defense of human rights necessarily begins with those of children and vulnerable persons, including refugees. The report deliberately omits to mention child soldiers trained militarily from the refugee camps in Rwanda, armed and used during the attack against Kabarore in Kayanza province in July 2015. Yet these child soldiers captured on the battlefield were presented to media and diplomats accredited in Bujumbura before being rehabilitated and handed over for integration into their families on 30 November 2015 in the presence of the UNICEF representative and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Burundi.

7. Yet the recruitment of refugees into their camps in Rwanda to make them combatants is only lightly mentioned in this report, let alone the seizure of weapons on vehicles from Rwanda including those of the UNHCR. The FIDH and the Ligue ITEKA therefore prefer to overlook the role of this country in the destabilization of Burundi as if this aggression did not constitute a violation of Human Rights especially the Rights of Children who are doubly vulnerable because of their situation of refugees. In other times and places, this is indeed a Crime against Humanity.

8. The denial of such crimes, as well as the deliberate omission in their reports of the acts of violence and other atrocities committed by the demonstrators during the insurrection, seriously undermine the credibility of the contents of this report and the of their editors namely : the FIDH and the League ITEKA for having concealed the truth.

9. More seriously, the exploitation of the ethnic fiber throughout the report hardly hides the will of the FIDH and the League ITEKA to join the team of detractors who before have used the same method to convince the International Community over deploying foreign troops in Burundi to pave the way for the establishment of a non-democratic governance system. A remission under foreign tutelage of Burundi, which neither the people of Burundi nor the Government would tolerate.

10. Thus, FIDH and the President of the League ITEKA dare to qualify in their report any statement by the Government of Burundi on this aggression of "anti-Rwanda propaganda and extremely violent speech by the Burundian authorities against Rwanda and its Tutsi President Paul Kagame".

11. The GENOCIDE element has always been a leitmotiv that has become a real obsession for the detractors of Burundi, and all the tricks, all the fabrications and possible falsifications are combined to achieve their objective. By way of illustration, in the aftermath of the attack on some military installations in the Bujumbura area on 11 December 2015 by terrorist groups, the French television channel France 3 broadcast on 13 January 2016 a program of a rare violence of the images provided by a Belgian lawyer Bernard MAINGAIN, images intended to convince the international opinion that the genocide is under way and particularly in the center of the country in Karuzi. A quick check revealed that the video scene was filmed in the north of Nigeria occupied by Boko Haram Jihadists, and Burundi filed a complaint against MAINGAIN and France3.

12. In its communiqué of 18 January 2016 in paragraph 10, the Government strongly denounced and condemned this defamatory entreprise, while recalling how much genocide had become a real obsession for the detractors of Burundi. Indeed, the choice of Karuzi was not a coincidence when one remembers that a few days earlier, an activist of the MSD party of Alexis SINDUHIJE, one of the main agitators of the Burundian political landscape, was caught In flagrante delicto displaying leaflets calling the Hutu of Karuzi to massacre the Tutsi, while he is Tutsi himself, a further proof that the genocide is perceived by a certain opinion as the only remaining track to bring the democratic system in Burundi to an end once for all.

13. In paragraph 8 of that communiqué, the Government had recalled that the dissemination of this video, which was taking place on the eve of the visit of a delegation of the United Nations Security Council in Burundi, was aimed at pressing down the accelerator on the project of sending a Foreign Force in Burundi, arguably for peacekeeping. It is therefore a re-issue of a policy already tried by others, since one of the conclusions of the FIDH report states the same recommendation.

14. In keeping with this logic, the rapporteurs announce that they have confidential appendices which will be transmitted in a secure manner to the ICC Prosecutor "in order to contribute to the initiation of an investigation into the crimes under his jurisdiction committed since April 2015 ".
It is therefore clear that, with this other conclusion ; the aim of the report is to assist the activists who have seized the ICC on the basis of similar reports, which led Burundi to withdraw from the Rome Statute, assuming that the Court is easily manipulated by various interests. It is up to the ICC not to fall again into this trap to risk undermining further its credibility.

15. Another element that shows how genocide is part of a long-established strategy is that during the insurgency observed in some neighborhoods of the capital city during the electoral period, Radio France Internationale RFI and the television France 24 had dispatched reporters to cover what they foresaw as an event : "a live genocide " which was to follow the insurrection and which fortunately, to their great disappointment did not take place. These reporters showed a particular zeal alongside the insurgents until soliciting them to leave their homes especially in the neighborhoods of Mutakura and Musaga, in order to obtain images of violence to be published. The Government then denounced this deception in its communiqué of 11 January 2016 in paragraph 7.

16. In their logic of demonization, the authors of the report do not hesitate to characterize the Government’s initiatives in the areas of social development as genocidal projects. For example, the sanitation program through the development of latrines to combat epidemics such as cholera is perceived from the point of view of mass graves where Tutsi are to be buried, as well as machetes intended for farmers in a country where more than 90% are farmers, are considered as intended to cut peoples’ heads. In the same order, the distribution of mobile phones to grassroots administrative leaders for better communication security wise or to call an ambulance in case of an accident or medical emergency is perceived by the FIDH and the League ITEKA as a stage of preparations for the genocide.

17. It is highly regrettable that an organization of such renown as the FIDH could have been led into the logic of a conspiracy of this kind sort. As for the president of the League ITEKA, it is understandable that he has no other way of survival than to align himself with the policy of the host country, Rwanda, but he forgets that in this case he cannot engage the respectful Burundian League of Human Rights in his political drifts. It is up to the members of the League ITEKA to give a wide berth to the genocidal policy advocated by their president in exile.

18. This genocide so desired by the so-called civil society since 2014 has not taken place, it is not in preparation and it will never take place because genocide has no place in this country since the Defense and Security Forces of yesterday are no longer the same as those of today.

Burundi Defense and Security Forces of today, thanks to their composition and which the detractors seek to divide by all means are Republican Forces which do not repress but protect the nation and all the components of the population of which they are also the emanation.

19. It is in this spirit that these forces have become famous for their effectiveness in the various peacekeeping missions around the world, successfully foils coup d’état attempts and defeat terrorist attacks, which is not synonymous with repression. No country in the world can leave such acts go unpunished without being qualified as irresponsible. Unfortunately, the FIDH and the League ITEKA Report seem to regret that the Government has been able to handle all these situations.

20. Concerning the figures presented in this Report, it is stated that FIDH had identified over 8,000 political detainees. It is a wacky figure because the entire prison population in Burundi is estimated at 8000 persons composed of persons arrested for offenses committed and who are judged according to the laws in force in the country.

21. The Government of Burundi therefore rejects and condemns this new attempt to destabilize its institutions and to undermine the sovereignty of its territory. This renewal of demonization and these fabrications prove sufficiently to what extent the GENOCIDE remains a real obsession and a business opportunity for some circles where each seeks to draw dividends either political for the powers that are behind these manipulations and which maintain the instability In Burundi, or financial for foreign or Burundian organizations claiming to be part of the civil society whose survival depends on these powers. The report of the FIDH and the League ITEKA perfectly illustrates the situation.

Consequently, the content and recommendations contained in this biased and manipulated report are the sole responsibility of its authors and those who have sponsored them. They shall not be binding on the Government of Burundi and shall not apply to its territory without its consent.

22. As a complement to this communiqué, the Government will issue a more detailed counter-report against all the inconsistencies and contradictions contained in the document of the FIDH and the League ITEKA which will inform the International Community on the real issues that justify this persistent attack against a people striving only for peace and the reconstruction of their country ravaged by crises maintained from the outside.

23. The Government of Burundi would like to reassure the International Community that there is neither a repression, a genocidal dynamics, nor preparations for genocide under way in Burundi as claimed or wished by the FIDH and the League ITEKA. As the Government has prioritized Unity and National Reconciliation, peace and security prevail throughout the country. Security Forces, Justice and Administration work in synergy day and night to achieve this goal ; observers in good faith can testify.

24. The Government of Burundi reaffirms its commitment to pursue its co-operation with the international community in respect of human rights while mutually respecting the rules governing member states, particularly those relating to the independence and sovereignty of peoples.

25. Finally, the Government tranquilizes the People of Burundi that the GENOCIDE prophesied by the FIDH and the League ITEKA will never take place. The Government urges the population to remain calm, to step up work to fight against poverty, the only enemy of peace, and not to be distracted by those whose only way to salvation depends upon the chaos they are desperately trying to restore in the country.
Done at Bujumbura, November 24, 2016

Philippe NZOBONARIBA

Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-

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