Turmoil in Burundi

The central African country has been in turmoil since last spring when the country’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, who has been in power since 2005 following a twelve-year civil war, decided to run for a third term and won the election. Opposition members argue that the elections were rigged and by running again, it violated constitutional term limits. In order to silence his critics, government forces and their allies have been beating and abducting people that sympathize with the opposition. This week, Human Rights Watch filed a report detailing the worsening situation in the country. The report revealed that many people have been systematically abducted, tortured, killed, and arbitrarily arrested.

Human Rights Watch argues that the Burundian government should “grant full access to UN special rapporteurs and a member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, to investigate abuses in Burundi.” The group also calls for Burundi to fulfill their obligation by being a member of the Human Rights Council to “cooperate with the council’s representatives and to uphold the highest human rights standards.” The report argues for the UN Security Council to deploy a UN political mission with a “substantial” international police component as a possible measure to deter the abuses in the country.

Dialogue in the past has failed to ease the tension between the two groups. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and various African leaders including South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma have been in Burundi this week hoping to start new talks between the different parties and also to order the release of political prisoners. Perhaps this could be crucial to find proper diplomatic solutions to end the conflict and all human rights violations.

Further information about the situation and the country in general can be found:

NY Times – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/26/world/africa/burundi-violence.html?ref=topics&_r=0

Human Rights Watch – https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/02/25/burundi-abductions-killings-spread-fear

Jeune Afrique – http://www.jeuneafrique.com/pays/burundi/ (French)

BBC – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32490645

Al Jazeera – http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/02/burundi-rivals-agree-hold-talks-crisis-160223140711765.html



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