On Monday 29th February 2016, Burundian Civil Society Organisations’ and International Organisations, including the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), presented a Joint Statement during a press conference at Palace Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania concerning the 17th Summit of Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC), on the humanitarian crisis in Burundi.
The seventeen (17) signatories were, among other issues, questioning why Burundi was not mentioned on the Summit’s agenda despite the continuing deterioration of human rights in the country, as well as the nomination, on Wednesday 2nd March, of the next Secretary-General of EAC by Burundi.
Mrs. Marie-Louise Baricako, from the Women and Girls Movement for Peace and Security in Burundi, presented the Joint Statement to the journalists. Afterwards, representatives added information provided by their own organisations, among them, Mr. Vital Nshimirimana, Director of Forum pour le Renforcement de la Société Civile (FORSC), and leader of the Mouvement Citoyen Halte au Troisième Mandat (HTM), underlined the importance of Burundi to not nominate, neither assume the positions of either Secretary General, or Chairmanship of EAC. Mr. Donald Deya, CEO of PALU, criticized the EAC Heads of State for letting down the Burundi citizens, the EAC citizens, as well as the African Union and the United Nations for counting on them to resolve the crisis. Ms. Rachel Nicholson from Amnesty International raised the issue of mass graves that her organisation reported last month in one of its field research and Mr. Dismas Nkunda, CEO of Atrocity Watch – Africa, raised the high risk of genocide in Burundi.
Among the signatories, twelve (12) organisations were represented at the Press Conference: Amnesty International, Atrocity Watch – Africa (AWA), Burundi Coalition for ICC (CB CPI), Centre for Citizens’ Participation in the African Union (CCP-AU), East Africa Law Society (EALS), Forum pour la Conscience et le Développement (FOCODE), Forum pour le Renforcement de la Société Civile (FORSC), Groupe de Recherche et d’Appui au Développement des Initiatives Démocratiques (GRADIS), Mouvement Citoyen Halte au Troisième Mandat (HTM), International Commission of Jurists – Kenyan Chapter (ICJ-K), Pan African Lawyers’ Union (PALU) and Women and Girls Movement for Peace and Security in Burundi.
Kindly read the official Joint Statement with all signatories here.