From 2 to 9 June 2019, the UN is celebrating a week of sensitization against armed violence.
According to Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament, “armed violence continues to devastate communities around the world, challenging security, economic opportunities and social and human rights”.
She adds that more than 200,000 people are killed every year by firearms, and more than 80% of these murders occur off the battlefield and are mostly children and women, while many others suffer from injuries, disabilities and psychological trauma related to firearms.
“In most countries of the world, easy access to weapons is one of the main factors behind this violence. With one billion firearms circulating around the world, our firm commitment is critical to controlling the circulation and availability of firearms “, says the UN representative.
As a member of the IANSA International Small Arms Action Network, the Mechanism for Peace Research and Development (MI-RPD) has joined the collective advocacy campaign to stop illegal trade and the misuse of small arms and light weapons.
According to MI-RPD, “it is sad news that hundreds of people die every day because of gun violence and that about half of all violent deaths come from firearms, nearly a quarter of a million every year “.
According to Mr. Jean Claude Sinzinkayo, legal representative of MI-RPD, Burundi is not spared.
“The 2015 Burundi crisis has made it clear that many firearms abound in the hands of civilians, without mentioning the irresponsibility of those legally detaining them but abusing them,” according to Sinzinkayo.
These are either young affiliates of political parties. The UN has already pinned young Imbonerakure of the ruling CNDD-FDD party as being an armed militia.
There are also rebel groups on one side and Security forces, police and military on the other.
MI-RPD also speaks about regional conflicts. “We could cite among others the conflicts between Burundi and Rwanda and those between Rwanda and Uganda, where common citizens are dying or their affairs ruined because of the disagreement between political leaders of these countries, “regrets Sinzinkayo.
He added that “this situation could be an open door for armed groups who have been living in DRC’s forests for decades and could easily infiltrate”.
More than 2,000 people have been killed, more than 10,000 are imprisoned, more than 1,000 are missing and more than 400,000 have been living in exile since 2015 according to the UN. All are victims of armed violence.
“Those who are not killed, are under constant threat of armed violence, especially in countries of the Great Lakes region, the Horn of Africa and neighboring countries in general and in the East African Community in particular, “adds the NGO MI-RPD.
The MI-RPD recommends raising awareness of the leaders of sub-regional countries, parliamentarians, civil society and other opinion leaders to take action to fight against armed violence.
“The damage caused by weapons worries everyone, young and old, public officials as well as individuals, rich and poor, regardless of ethnicity or religion,” concludes the Burundian NGO.