13 Nov 2015 – A statement from the Aegis Trust and STAND: the Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities
The world is watching with concern as tensions escalate in Burundi, yet response to the crisis has thus far been limited in coordination and effectiveness. Since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a controversial third term in April, and since a failed coup attempt in May, the Burundian government has cracked down on political dissidents, leaving more than 240 people dead and forcing more than 210,000 people to flee to neighbouring countries. In recent days, hate speech and attacks by both security forces and armed opposition have exacerbated existing tensions.
The vocabulary and tone now being used by some of the authorities in Burundi recall the worst hours of the planning of mass atrocities before the genocide took place in Rwanda. Révérien Ndikuriyo, the President of Burundi’s Senate, has called on supporters to “pulverise” and “exterminate” opponents, who are “good only for dying.” Two weeks ago, he said publicly, “Go tell