"Critical" time for Burundi as elections approach

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Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Burundi is facing a critical time as it prepares for general elections, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein recently arrived in the country on his first official visit to Africa.

Burundi is scheduled to hold legislative, presidential, senate and local elections between May and August this year.

Cathrine Hasselberg reports.

The human rights chief's trip to Burundi follows a recent visit by the UN Security Council.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said this is testimony to the importance that the international community gives to the pre-election run up.

He explained his expectations for his visit.

"I hope in the course of the next two-days to develop some greater clarity in terms of where we are headed, in terms of the elections but also a better understanding as to what the government has been doing and intends to do on some of the key human rights issues as well."

The High Commissioner is scheduled to meet with Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza.

The UN Human Rights Office recently opened a regional office in the Central African nation.

It monitors and reports on human rights and justice issues, which were previously covered by the UN Office in Burundi which closed in December last year.

Cathrine Hasselberg, United Nations.

Duration: 55″

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