News in Brief – 17 June 2016 (PM)

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More than a quarter of a million Burundians have fled to neighbouring countries since April 25, 2015, most of them to Tanzania. Photo: UNHCR/Benjamin Loyseau

Impunity "the order of the day" in Burundi crisis

Impunity for serious present and past human rights violations remains "the order of the day" in Burundi, three independent experts have charged.

The members of the UN Independent Investigation on Burundi (UNIIB) concluded their second visit to the Great Lakes nation on Friday.

Burundi has been rocked by political violence and turmoil since April 2015 following the President's decision to stand for a controversial third term.

Hundreds have been killed and thousands have been detained.  The crisis has also driven more than 250,000 citizens to neighbouring states.

There was no sign that disappearances and tortures had decreased, the experts stated.

And while welcoming what they said was a "significant drop" in the number of executions since the beginning of the year, they again urged warring sides to stop using violence as a political tool.

Meanwhile, many political prisoners remain behind bars, and a new pattern of mass arrests has emerged, particularly affecting ordinary people, including children.

The experts called for concrete steps to be taken to end the crisis, including holding a "truly inclusive" political dialogue.

Six civilians killed in air strikes in Libya

Five civilians, including two children, died and eight people were injured as a result of at least four air strikes in Libya this month.

The incidents occurred in residential areas in Derna, located in eastern Libya, during the period from 4-15 June.

That information comes from the UN mission in the country, UNSMIL.

Ali Al-Za’tari, UNSMIL deputy chief, has called for an end to continuing air strikes in urban areas.

He reminded parties to the conflict that direct attacks on civilians are war crimes and that those responsible should be prosecuted.

Fundamentalist intolerance threatening right to freedom of assembly, association

Intolerance fuelled by fundamentalism is growing worldwide, posing a "grave threat" to human rights such as freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

That statement comes from UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai who presented his latest report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday.

Mr Kiai explained that the concept of fundamentalism is not limited to religion, but also applies to any movements that promote strict adherence to a set of beliefs and principles.

For instance, he said free market fundamentalism—the belief that markets are best left to the forces of supply and demand—is an urgent threat.

Political fundamentalism, including allegiance to particular leaders, is another problem, he added.

Mr Kiai emphasized that tolerance is the only way to prevent violence, oppression and conflict.

He said the failure of countries to ensure a tolerant environment "can have catastrophic results."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’58″

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