From OMEGA SSUUNA in Bujumbura, Burundi
BUJUMBURA, (CAJ News) – RIGHTS groups are wary of another ethnic cleansing in Burundi following a civil service questionnaire government has issued asking public servants to state their ethnicity.
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) said such a survey, given Burundi’s history of deadly ethnic conflict, could spread fear and further mistrust among the population.
“This could be hugely dangerous if misused,” said CERD Chairperson, Anastasia Crickley.
The survey comes on the back of reports of killings, summary executions, disappearances and torture as well as the frequent use of hate speech by Government officials.
Crickley called on the government to take action to protect civilians and allow the admission of a UN police contingent to monitor the security and human rights situation.
“Burundi is at a dangerous junction. We therefore call on the government to step back from any actions that risk stoking ethnic conflict and that could even be a precursor to mass atrocities.”
Burundi, which suffered genocide in 1972 and 1993, has announced it intends to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
It rejected findings by UN experts on widespread violations and suspended cooperation with the UN Human Rights Office.
– CAJ NEWS