Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Amnesty International, June 13, 2005 - Burundi

Burundi: 8,000 asylum seekers facing expulsion

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

AI Index: AFR 16/005/2005 13 June 2005

Burundi: 8,000 asylum seekers facing expulsion

As thousands of Rwandese asylum-seekers are being forcibly expelled from Burundi, Amnesty International said today that their forcible return is in complete contravention of international refugee and human rights law.

The governments of Rwanda and Burundi claimed yesterday that the 8,000 asylum-seekers, the majority of whom are staying at Songore transit camp in Ngozi province and fled to Burundi beginning in early April, are illegal immigrants and would be expelled -- by force, if necessary.

"The use of verbal or physical threats to induce people to return to countries where they fear persecution is in complete contravention of international law -- in particular the binding principle of non-refoulement," said Kolawole Olaniyan, Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme.

"We urge the government of Burundi to implement fair and transparent asylum procedures to establish the risks of return for every single person claiming asylum -- as is their duty under international law."

Many of the Rwandese at risk of return reportedly fled the ongoing work of the gacaca tribunals, which are currently gathering information about crimes committed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Others cited threats of intimidation, persecution and rumours of revenge as reasons for leaving Rwanda.

For those who have already been expelled, Amnesty International said that close moniting of their safety and security must be undertaken by an independent monitor, such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Article 1(F) of the UN Refugee Convention excludes from international protection persons with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that they have committed a crime against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity, serious non-political crimes, or are guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

However, determination to exclude an individual from refugee status on grounds recognized under the Refugee Convention should only be made after full consideration of his/her asylum claim in a fair procedure in accordance with international law and standards, including the right to be informed of the evidence for exclusion, to rebut the evidence and to appeal against a negative decision to grant refugee status.

A decision to exclude a person from the protection of the Refugee Convention does not mean, however, that Burundi can expel or extradite a person to a country where they would risk serious human rights abuses or face unfair trial.

For further information, please see “Burundi: Rwandan asylum seekers should have access to fair and satisfactory refugee determination procedures”, 19 May 2005

View all AI documents on Burundi:


How Deep Throat Fooled the FBI

The recent revelations about W. Mark Felt's identity as the Deep Throat informant of Watgergate fame have been dramatic and widely reported. But Felt's role as the most famous anonymous source in US history was even more complex than the newly revised public account suggests.

According to originally confidential FBI documents--some written by Felt--that were obtained by The Nation from the FBI's archives, Felt was at one time in charge of finding the source of Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate scoops. In a twist worthy of le Carré, Deep Throat was assigned the mission of unearthing--and stopping--Deep Throat.

For the details, read a special advance copy of David Corn and Jeff Goldberg's Nation magazine cover-story.

Monday, June 13, 2005

News from Democracy Now, June 5, 2005

* EXCLUSIVE: Another U.S. War Resister Flees to Canada To Avoid Fighting in
Iraq Via The New 'Underground Railroad' *

Earlier this week Ryan Johnson and his wife crossed into Canada to escape
serving in the military. Over the past month they have traveled across the
United States and then into Canada with help from a new underground railroad
that has formed to help war resisters. During a stop in New York, Johnson
joined us in our studio to explain why he is heading to Canada.


Bloggers of Ontario Unite!

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