The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (S/2020/487) issued on 03 June 2020.
The political and human rights crisis that began in 2015 remains unchanged, with heightened risks of sexual violence facing women and girls, including as a strategy of intimidation and punishment for their perceived political affiliation. The Commission of Inquiry on Burundi recalled, in its latest report, the political context in which crimes have been committed in recent years, including sexual violence (A/HRC/42/49). During the reporting period, a prominent opposition politician, Marie Claire Niyongere, was sexually assaulted and killed. Most of the cases of sexual violence were attributed to the security and intelligence forces and to members of the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of the ruling party. The Imbonerakure operate in both urban and rural areas, and in association with the national security forces, the National Intelligence Service and local authorities. Sexual violence has been committed in survivors’ places of residence, in conjunction with beatings, abductions and the execution of family members. Women have also been raped in the course of their daily livelihood activities, as well as during attempts to flee the country, and in some cases upon their return. The Government has established four one-stop centres to provide comprehensive assistance to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Obstacles to human rights monitoring include the closure of independent local non governmental organizations and media outlets not affiliated with the Government. The Government also requested the closure of the OHCHR country office, which took effect in February 2019. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that more than 367,000 Burundians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that 1.77 million are in need of humanitarian assistance.
I urge the Government to adopt measures to ensure access to justice for survivors of sexual violence and to hold perpetrators accountable, including members of the security forces and Imbonerakure. I call upon the Government to cooperate with United Nations human rights mechanisms, in particular the Commission of Inquiry.