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Human rights abuses continue in Burundi, UN watchdog report





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Human rights violations are still being committed in Burundi, including sexual violence and murder, a report by a UN watchdog said.

Hopes had been pinned on new President Evariste Ndayishimiye, who was elected in May. He took over from his predecessor Pierre Nkurunziza, who was in office for 15 years.

During his tenure, at least t 1,200 people were killed and more than 400,000 displaced during unrest between April 2015 and May 2017, according to the UN.

It was hoped the new leader could change the face of the central African country. But the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi described evidence of killings and disappearance in recent weeks. It also said during the election there was evidence of summary executions, torture and sexual violence.

“In recent weeks there have continued to be killings, there have continued to be arbitrary detentions and there have continued to be disappearances,” said Commission of Inquiry member Francoise Hampson.

“It’s slightly surprising that it is continuing as it was even though elections have finished. And that is a matter of very grave concern.”

The investigators also looked at serious violations committed on youngsters under 18, who they said were “specifically targeted.”

“We very much fear the consequences of the 2015 crisis for Burundi’s future, not least because of the long-term impact it will have on the children”, said Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor.

Over the past four years, the commission has been the only independent mechanism to report on human rights violations in Burundi

The panel is concerned that this oversight will disappear when it ends its mandate this year.

The report will be presented to the Human Rights Council on 23 September.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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