"No sign" of improvement in Burundi: investigators

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A protest in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura in May 2015. Photo: IRIN/Phil Moore http://bit.ly/2ke5xSu

International human rights experts monitoring Burundi have seen "no sign of positive" change in the country in recent months.

That's according to a new report commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council into allegations of ongoing grave abuses in the Great Lakes state.

In June, UN investigators highlighted the climate of fear and violence in Burundi linked to President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to stand for a third term in office.

Daniel Johnson has more.

UN investigators have no access to Burundi, so their latest report on the human rights situation there is based on testimonies from those in exile, as well as others who remain inside its borders.

Their findings are to be given to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next month.

Ahead of that presentation, head of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, Fatsah Ouguergouz, gave his assessment of the situation:

"Since last June, where the Commission made its oral declaration at the Human Rights Council, we received no sign of a positive evolution of the situation in Burundi, in particular as far as the restriction to certain freedoms are concerned… On the contrary, we have received some testimonies since June showing that the tendency that we have underlined in June is persisting."

Nearly 500 testimonies form the basis for this latest update to the UN body, which voted to set up the Burundi probe last September.

That decision followed reports of horrific abuse including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances.

In June, the Commission of Inquiry said that it had also documented cases of sexual violence, particularly against female relatives of government opponents.

Implicated is the Imbonerakure – a youth league linked to the authorities.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’17″

 

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