Burundi: Human Rights office hopes suspension decision will be reversed

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Cécile Pouilly. Photo: OHCHR

It is crucial that Burundi and the United Nations continue dialogue on key human rights issues.

That's according to the UN human rights office which is "deeply concerned" by the government's decision to suspend cooperation with its branch in the country.

Dianne Penn reports.

Burundi's government announced on Tuesday that it had suspended "all cooperation and collaboration" with the local UN human rights office, which has been there for more than two decades.

The country has been engulfed in political turmoil since April 2015, following the President's decision to stand for a controversial third term.

More than 400 people have been killed and 240,000 citizens have fled to neighbouring countries.

A UN Human Rights Council report published last month found that "gross human rights violations have and are taking place, committed primarily by State agents and those linked to them."

Cécile Pouilly is a spokesperson with the UN human rights office in Geneva:

"We really do hope that they are going to revisit this decision to stop cooperating with us because we feel our presence on the ground is extremely important and now Burundi is obviously at a very critical moment, so it is crucial that this dialogue on key human rights issues continues.

Ms Pouilly said the UN human rights office has been cooperating with the authorities in Burundi to achieve "a number of results."

Since April 2015, its interventions have helped to release over 5,000 people who had been arrested and detained, she stated.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'21"

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