UN rights council sets up inquiry into Burundi violations

The United Nations Human Rights Council agreed on Friday to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the perpetrators of violations including killings and torture in Burundi.

The commission will conduct its probe for a period of one year.

The moves come barely a week after UN independent investigators released a report accusing the government of being behind systematic human rights abuses.

In the report, the experts warned of crimes against humanity as well as a possibility of the country descending into civil war.

The UN rights council adopted the resolution submitted by the European Union by a vote of 19 countries in favour, seven against including Russia and China, with 21 abstaining.

The council is made up of 47 member states with Burundi being one of them.

Peter Sorensen, the EU head of delegation in Geneva said on Twitter that he was pleased that the European Union-led resolution on Burundi was adopted, adding that: “We call on Burundi to fully cooperate with the Human Rights Council and the new mechanism proposed by the resolution.”

After the vote, Burundi opposed the development saying the country has a national commission that is already probing the abuses to bring perpetrators to justice.

According to the Burundian government, at least 150 police officers have been prosecuted including 59 jailed and 37 dismissed from service since April 2015 when protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a controversial third term – a vote he won in July – erupted.

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