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UN Rights Chief Alarmed By Rape Chants in Burundi

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has expressed outrage at an apparent widespread pattern of rallies in several provinces across Burundi, where young men from the Imbonerakure militia – the youth wing of the ruling CNDD-FDD political party – repeatedly chant a call to impregnate or kill opponents. According to a UN statement released Tuesday, High Commissioner Zeid said the organised nature of the marches, coupled with reports of ongoing serious human rights violations, lay bare the “campaign of terror” being waged in Burundi. “The grotesque rape chants by the young men of the Imbonerakure across several provinces in various parts of Burundi are deeply alarming – particularly because they confirm what we have been hearing from those who have fled Burundi about a campaign of fear and terror by this organised militia,” Zeid said. The statement cites “a chilling video” circulating on social media showing more than 100 members of the Imbonerakure repeating dozens of times their call to “make opponents pregnant so that they can give birth to Imbonerakure.”

Another group then repeats a chant in which the phrase “he or she should die” is audible some 19 times, in a rally that reportedly took place in Ntega commune, Kirundo province, in the country’s northeast. According to the UN, following the release of the video, on April 5, the CNDD-FDD issued a statement condemning the chanting and stating that a preliminary enquiry has found that there were “influences outside the party.” “While I welcome the statement by the CNDD-FDD condemning the chants in Ntega, reports that senior officials were present at other rallies are very disturbing. There also needs to be an acknowledgement that the Ntega rally was not an isolated incident, but rather the tip of the iceberg, brought to light only because it was captured on camera.” The condemnation is meaningless if, instead of a putting a stop to such events, senior government officials continue to take part in such rallies,” Zeid said.

Source: East Africa, Burundi

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