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Burundi: Ban welcomes promise of ‘inclusive dialogue,’ release of detainees

Burundi: Ban welcomes promise of ‘inclusive dialogue,’ release of detainees

India Blooms News Service | | 24 Feb 2016, 09:33 am
New York, Feb 24 (Just Earth News/IBNS) United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the decision on Tuesday by the President of Burundi to withdraw some media bans, cancel arrest warrants and release detainees as goodwill gestures to try to end months of violence in the crisis-torn country.

Speaking at a press conference in Burundi, Ban said that President Pierre Nkurunziza told him this morning that, among other measures, he will release a list of 1,200 detainees.

“This is an encouraging step,” the UN chief said, emphasizing that he would expect that additional measures should be taken.

Ban said that at his invitation yesterday evening, representatives of the political actors, from both the Government ruling party and opposition party, sat down together to discuss Burundi’s future, and promised to engage in inclusive dialogue.

“Nothing prevents them from continuing on this course,” the Secretary-General stressed, adding that President Nkurunziza also confirmed that he will be engaging in an inclusive dialogue.

Noting that he was last in Burundi in June 2010, only weeks before the general elections, Ban said that at the time, he spoke about the peace dividends of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement and the Global Ceasefire Agreement, which put the country on a path to economic recovery and national reconciliation.


“The effort that ended the civil war hinged on the willingness of former battlefield enemies to sit at the same table and become partners in Burundi’s common future,” the UN chief said.

Ban also underscored that it is necessary to shift from a focus on crisis response to a culture of early action – what he called a “preventive diplomacy.”

“That is one of the main reasons I am in Burundi on Tuesday and it is one of the main calls to action when I am convening world leaders at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016,” he said.

Ban added that his Special Adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, has deployed his team in Burundi and is working with the Government to support a “credible and inclusive political dialogue” and advise the authorities on addressing security concerns.

“I have full confidence and trust in Benomar and I hope that the Government of Burundi will work closely with him,” Ban said.

“Burundi’s political leaders must be willing to summon the courage and confidence that will make a credible political process possible and ensure that the people of this beautiful nation can once again live in peace and enjoy human rights,” the UN chief concluded.

Burundi was thrown into crisis this past April when President Nkurunziza decided to run for a controversial third term that he went on to win in July. To date, it has been reported that more than 400 people have been killed, more than 240,000 have fled the nation, and thousands more have been arrested and possibly subjected to human rights violations.

Photo: UNDP/Aude Rossignol

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm