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Burundi Government bans UN investigators

Following the recent United Nations investigation report on Burundi crises, the government has banned three UN investigators from entering the country after they accused the government of gross human rights violations.

Pablo de Greiff of Colombia, Christof Heyns of South Africa, and Maya Sahli-Fadel of Algeria were no longer welcome in Burundi; after saying in a report that thousands of people had been tortured, suffered sexual abuse or disappeared during political violence.

The decision comes after the last week cabinet decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. First Vice President Gaston Sindimwo said after a cabinet meeting, “We found that it was necessary to withdraw from that organization so we can really be free”.

Their investigation, published in a UN report, had described an abundant evidence of gross human rights violations possibly amounting to crimes against humanity, by the government of Burundi and people associated with it.


The announcement signed by Secretary General Philippe Nzabonariba (in French)

Speaking in New York on Monday, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric urged Burundi to continue to co-operate with the investigators. “It’s critical that Burundi and every other country co-operate fully with UN human rights mechanism and that is including working with those representing it”.

Members of civil society, especially human rights defenders and journalists, have been primary targets of systematic repression by the authorities, but there is also no room for dissenting positions within government circles or the ruling party.

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Théogène U

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