BUJUMBURA January 31st (ABP) – The members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) held in Bujumbura on Wednesday January 30, 2019, an information meeting to raise awareness among international partners about the TRC missions and the law governing the said commission, but also to ask them for multiform support.
In his speech, TRC Chairman Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye said that since Burundi’s independence, Burundians have faced socio-political crises, some more deadly than the others.
Supported by the Burundians, the TRC is called on to lead an important and delicate social project of healing the hearts and restoration of the dignity of the victims, a building site of recognition and valuation of those who protected the others during the various crises and who, every day, slowly cement the paths to reconciliation, according to Mr. Ndayicariye.
The TRC chairman recalled that in the report submitted to Parliament in September 2018 by the outgoing TRC, the predecessors were able to receive about 70,000 testimony depositors throughout the country, interesting information on the main human rights violations committed during the crises that shook the country. He added that the TRC has already collected information on more than 4,000 mass graves scattered throughout the country.
Aware of the magnitude of the task and the scope of its missions, the TRC calls upon international partners that wish and can, to support them in a multifaceted way, Mr. Ndayicariye said. According to him, political and diplomatic support is needed for the truth and reconciliation process in Burundi. It also needs support in its mission to restore the victims in their dignity and rights as well as technical and financial support to the TRC, whose main mission is truth in the service of national reconciliation.
According to the TRC chairman, the Burundian victims of past tragedies are part of humanity. The international community partners are then invited to help this humanity, through the TRC, Ndayicariye said. He also called on countries and organizations linked to Burundi through historical and long-standing relations of cooperation, to facilitate and support the consultation of archives and documents on the history of Burundi kept with their administrations.
Speaking of the TRC’s missions, Commissioner Déo Ndikumana returned to article 6 of the law governing that commission, which states that the 1st mission is to investigate and establish the truth about serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed from 26 February 1985 to 4 December 2008, the date of the end of the belligerency.
For him, investigations aim to elucidate violations of political, civil, economic and social major rights, establish the responsibilities of individuals and those of State institutions, legal entities and private groups. They also aim to provide a place for the preservation of human remains before their burial in dignity.
As for TRC Commissioner Aloys Batungwanayo, he said in his presentation on the management of wounded memories that memory is important to be part of time, in time and in history, to share the same experience, especially for the survivors of war, who seek to find the same emotions, their identity and make sense of the death of their comrades. In this sense, he said, a monument for all victims would help in the work of mourning, adding that sometimes the duty of memory is accompanied by a requirement of reparation and recognition. For Mr. Batungwanayo, we commemorate because we hope for a better world where there will be no more “mourning”.
It is worth noting that this meeting was attended by some ambassadors accredited to Bujumbura and some leaders of non-governmental organizations working in Burundi.