UN probe reveals 'gross human rights abuses' in Burundi

2016-09-21 19:00
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Geneva - The government of Burundi has been implicated in a number of human rights abuses across the country, including execution and torture, a new report released by the United Nations (UN) says.

According to the UN's Office of the High Commissioner, a probe into the government's conduct exposed "abundant evidence of gross human rights violations," which could possibly be tantamount to crimes against humanity.

Investigators tasked by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) were tasked with probing Burundi since it descended into violence in April 2015, due to President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term in office.

The subsequent report, which was released on September 20, verified 564 cases of executions between April 26, 2015, and August 30, 2016, with investigators noting that crimes have been committed primarily by "state agents and those linked to them", Al Jazeera confirms.

The report documented hundreds of cases of execution, sexual violence and targeted assassinations and torture, with investigators also stating that forced disappearances also seem to be a problem in the east African nation.

Accountability mechanisms 

Human rights defenders, journalists and members of the civil society were noted as primary targets of systematic repression by authorities, with dissenting elements within government circles also being cast into the spotlight.

"Any semblance of opposition to the Government is dealt with ruthlessly and seemingly without fear of accountability," the report states, noting that "the accountability mechanisms are exceedingly weak and impunity is endemic".

The UN has since called for the immediate setting up of an international Commission of Inquiry into the matter, with Nkurunziza's membership to the Human Rights Council also being out under threat.

Burundi, however, denied all allegations, claiming that the report should not have been released without the response of Burundian officials beforehand.

The Government has since addressed a 40-page rebuttal to the UN regarding the report.

Read more on:    unhrc  |  burundi  |  east africa  |  human rights abuses

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