Burundi threatens to quit human-rights council

Last week, Burundi threatened to quit the U.N. Human Rights Council over “politicization” following a report by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Burundi that found “reasonable grounds to believe” the government had committed crimes against humanity in 2017 and 2018.

The report describes summary executions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, sexual violence and disappearances.

separate report from the International Federation for Human Rights, and from Ligue ITEKA, a Burundian human-rights group, claimed that government security forces, plus the Imbonerakure — the militarized youth wing of the ruling party — killed more than 200 people in the past five months.

Burundi has seen escalating violence since 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza violated the constitution and took a third term in office.

Since then at least 1,200 people have been killed and 400,000 forced to flee.  

This triggered an investigation by the International Criminal Court, which prompted Burundi to become the first country to withdraw from the court’s organizing treaty last year.  

The Burundi government has repeatedly prevented independent investigations into human-rights abuses, including cancelling the visas of a team dispatched by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2017.

Sources: CAJ New Africa, AFP, U.N. Human Rights Council

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