WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the one-year anniversary of the “12/12 massacre” in Burundi:
“Last December 11th, several military facilities in Bujumbura came under attack by rebels. In response, Burundian security forces systematically killed dozens of people in opposition neighborhoods the following day in what has been referred to as the ‘12/12 Massacre.’ In this incident, Burundi suffered some of the worst violence since last spring, when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to stand for a third term in violation of the country’s constitution.
“As a result of this man-made crisis, the Burundian government has committed torture and has been implicated in multiple instances of extrajudicial killing and forced disappearances. In addition, approximately 326,000 Burundians have fled the country and an estimated 139,000 are internally displaced. Half of the women arriving in Tanzanian refugee camps have reported suffering some type of sexual violence and continue to face substantial barriers to the medical and psychosocial assistance they now require.
“In light of the continued crisis in Burundi, the stagnation of the East African Community’s peace talks is cause for concern, as is the government’s refusal to cooperate with the UN Commission of Inquiry tasked with investigating human rights violations. In a few months, this crisis will have dragged on for two years. That’s two years of the destruction of the Arusha Accords that ended Burundi’s civil war and created a form of power-sharing that could have been a model for the continent. Although we are in a period of transition within the US, the United Nations, and the African Union, I want to assure the Burundian people that I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to find a solution to this crisis.”