UN terminates three Burundian peacekeepers in CAR over rights violations

Burundian Peacekeepers in CAR

Burundian Peacekeepers in CAR

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) has dismissed three Burundian military officers and plans to send them back home over concerns about their human rights record the tiny Central African nation.

Major Pierre Niyonzima, Major Jimmy Rusheshe and Major Jean Bosco Mushimantwari are the three Burundian military officers who have seen their peacekeeping mission under MINUSCA revoked.

The officers are accused by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), having committed human rights violations during last year’s violent protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term.
Speaking to Afrika Reporter, Farhan Haq, the Deputy Spokesperson of the Secretary-General confirmed preparations were underway to send the officers back to Burundi.

“We took the decision on the basis of information that we have and in line with the UN human rights diligence. Burundian authorities have been informed accordingly and preparations are being made for their repatriation,” Mr. Haq said in a telephone interview Friday.

He said officers like any other prospective UN peacekeeper were vetted prior to their deployment, the UN received credible information in the course of their mission and acted upon it.

“It’s very important that all those who are deployed as UN peacekeepers from whatever country are properly screened, however, as we get our own information we must step up our own procedures to make sure whoever is deployed with the UN have a good record,” the UN official added.

The Deputy Spokesperson of the Secretary-General hopes Burundi will continue to provide troops for such operations despite the stern measure.

Burundi’s military and police personnel are deployed in a number of African countries for peacekeeping duties; 5,400 are in ng in Somalia under the African Union Mission in Somalia and more than 1,200 soldiers and police are stationed in the Central African Republic with the United Nations.

However, rights organizations have repeatedly raised concerns about the credibility of Burundian troops and some are accused of massive human rights violations in the ongoing conflict.

The Burundian military and police played a big role in quelling anti-third protests and in foiling the May 2015 attempted against President Nkurunziza.

This latest development follows a similar action in December 2015 in which the country’s Army Spokeman Colonel Gaspard Baratuza was forced to return home while in Entebbe, Uganda en route to Bangui, the Capital of the Central African Republic (CAR).

Also several police officers have been rejected by the UN peacekeeping operations office because of allegations of serious human rights violations.

The government had not commented on the dismissal of the three officers, they were deployed in December 2015.

The United Nations mission in CAR has been receiving human rights of its own, last year, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was forced to fire the mission’s overall chief due to pressure from rights groups and the local population.