Burundi’s Ministry of Interior issued the ban this week, accusing the rights group Ligue Iteka of tarnishing the country’s image and “sowing hatred and division within the Burundian community.”
U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters Wednesday that the group “carries out crucial work in monitoring and documenting human rights abuses committed in Burundi, which is all the more important given the precarious human rights situation in the country.”
Haq said that along with urging a reversal of the ban, the U.N. is calling on Burundi’s government to reconsider restrictions on other human right and civil society organizations imposed in the past three months.
For the International Federation for the Human Rights (FIDH), the measure is retaliatory. “Striking off the oldest human rights organization tarnishes the image of the country and attracts the International community’s attention on the abuses committed in Burundi”, said Dimitris Christopoulos, FIDH chairperson.
Willy Nyamitwe, Senior Advisor in charge of media, information and communication at the presidency, says on his tweet account that “Burundi cannot tolerate anyone who wants to divide Burundians on ethnic basis”.
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