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Burundi, Africa

In Human Rights by Dusty Croghan

Few people know about the most recent genocide in Burundi that took 300,000 lives. Millions and millions have been murdered and displaced in the region. People living in the small country again fear a mass killing is near.

With a focus on Syrian and Islamic refugees world wide, few know about the nearly 242,000 Burundi refugees currently fleeing.  Civilians, journalists, human rights activists, and political opposition figures have been arrested, tortured, and murdered. Signs of pre-genocide are every where and there are reports of gang rapes of women by government forces, torture, and Tutsi ethnic repression. There are growing signs that Tutsis are being targeted in the Hutu-majority country, the same situation that lead to the Rwandan genocide.  According to World Population Prospects the total population of Burundi was 8, 383, 000 in 2010.

The country is in political chaos. President Pierre Nkurunziza continued his position, provoking months of protests. The President took “oath for a new term of five years” in a surprise ceremony. Nkurunziza retaining the presidency has been deemed unconstitutional as the Burundi Constitution bars the president from running for a third term.

The Burundi Constitution allows a president to be elected twice for a total of 10 years in power. Nkurunziza has been president since 2005. Independent media has since been shut down in the country. An United Nation’s observer said the vote was not “inclusive, free and credible” and was held “in an environment of profound mistrust”.

Tutsi & Hutus

Tutsi was a thriving aristocracy many years ago. Hutus were wealthy class of people and resembled the aristocrat Tutsi class. Germans claimed the parts of the region in 1897 for a brief amount of time.  At that time the region was already familiar with slavery and injustice.

While making a census of the Rwanda- Burundi it was declared that a Tutsi has more than ten cows in his possession and the their facial features included a long nose. The availability of long nose in Africa was a matter of research and concluded that Tutsi people came from Ethiopia, and had European descendants. German rulers gave special status to Tutsis as the rulers found them to be superior to Hutus. Tutsis became the primary beneficiaries of Catholic Church services, especially quality education and administrative job opportunities.

The ethnic differences according to people from the area are that generally the “Tutsis tend to be tall, and thin. They have long noses, high pitch voices, and relatively clear skin. Hutu tend to be short, strong and have relatively broader features with big noses, and low pitch voices”.

After the First World War territories in the region where returned to Belgium.  The Belgians ruled countries of the region as a European colonies. Although Belgium took control of Burundi in 1914, The League of Nations, now the United Nations, granted Belgium a mandate to “administer” the colony in 1924.

The History of Belgium & The Region.

The King of Belgium had privately founded The Congo Free State in 1885.  The local population was used for human slavery to extract country assets like rubber and ivory. In true fashion of “Industrialization” and “Indoctrination”, Belgium did not directly oversee the education of the Congo’s indigenous population who were used as slaves. Rather, it turned the responsibility for education over to missionaries. In 1908 the Congo was handed over directly from the King as a private venture to the country of Belgium.  At that time the Congo already had 587 missionaries, mostly Catholic.

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Catholic Missionaries: Genocide & Indoctrination

After Belgium established control over Burundi, the same foundation as the Congo ensued. They “implemented a system of indirect rule based on the principles of racial hierarchy”. Less than 20 years later, following the German classification, Belgium rule introduced group classified ID cards, which deepened a “rigid racial concept of group identity where it had not previously existed”. ID cards introduced the new establishment of “social classes and class factions”. ID cards were not only used as tools for physical identification, but as Tutsi ‘death certificates’ and Hutu ‘pass-go-for-free’ cards.

The catholic church via missionaries, including bishops and priests, have been involved deeply with the instances of Genocide in the region, including Rwanda. Priests and nuns have been involved in mass killings and the church has played a long standing primary role in implementing the policies of discrimination and demoralization.

Fighters on both sides have been taught they are doing God’s will with a Christian foundation. The current Burundi President, Nkurunziza, who claims the third term by “divine choice”, also claimed God will defeat rebels as he recently started his controversial third term.

An active organization calling thmselves “Christian Democratic International” has been deeply involved in the region and claims to be a non-profit organization providing support to democratic movements, parties and politicians in dictatorships and new democracies across the world.

Reports show the role of church in the planning and execution of Burundi genocide.  The Catholic Church has a long standing agenda of implementing social institutions like schools, health centers, and hospitals.  The institutions are all managed by missionaries that are also in charge of cultural indoctrination.

The 1972 mass killings of Hutus by the Tutsi-dominated army,and the 1993 mass killings of Tutsis by the majority-Hutu, are both described as genocide in the final report of the International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi presented to the United Nations Security Council. June 1993 in Burundi, the Hutu Party, “Front pour la Démocratie au Burundi”, FRODEBU, and its presidential candidate, Melchior Ndadaye, won the election and formed the first Hutu government in the country. Tensions reached the boiling point on 21 October, 1993, when President Ndadaye was assassinated. Yet, even before the President was officially declared dead, around 200,000 civilians, Tutsis and moderate Hutus, had already been slaughtered. In 1994, the Hutus led a genocide against the Tutsi in neighboring Rwanda.

After the last genocide a network of clergy and church organizations relocated priests and nuns that were involved in the mass killings to Europe.  The cover up and global mainstream media silence reaches all the way up to the Vatican today.

Burundi Today

Currently, hundreds of thousands of people have chosen to flee to neighboring countries and hundreds are being killed and hundreds arrested as violence is again increasing. Every day conditions are deteriorating.

The UN council claims it has hopes to persuade President Nkurunziza to agree to allow 5,000 African Union (AU) peacekeepers into the country, but his government has already declared that it would fight the peacekeepers as an “invading force.” People from the region are claiming the United Nations isn’t serious about resolve and will not be until they deploy an international police force to protect civilians.

The European Union just warned the Burundian Government officials that appropriate measures would be taken against them due to human rights abuses in the country. Critics claim “possible” actions are not sufficient when people are dying and severe sanctions should be applied.