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UN adopts resolution condemning violence in Burundi

[JURIST] The UN Security Council [official website] on Thursday unanimously adopted [press release] a resolution condemning the political violence and killings currently afflicting Burundi. The violence began in the wake of President Pierre Nkurunziza announcing that he would seek a third term in office, which he was voted into [JURIST report] in July. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has claimed that there have been "hundreds of cases of arbitrary arrest and detention in the past month alone, targeting members of the opposition, journalists, human rights defenders and their families, people attending the funerals of those who have been killed, and inhabitants of neighborhoods perceived to be supportive of the opposition." The resolution will be utilized to create additional measures to combat violence committed by Burundians who threaten the peace.

Last month the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights shared concerns [JURIST report] over the "rapidly worsening security and human rights situation in Burundi," noting that 198 people have been killed in the nation since April. In late September Zeid expressed concern [JURIST report] about "an alarming upsurge in arrests, detention and killings" that have been occurring in Burundi since the beginning of September. Zeid said that many bodies have been found bound with their hands behind their back in the streets of Bujumbura with marks that appear to be consistent with torture. The unrest intensified in May after the Constitutional Court ruled [JURIST report] that Nkurunziza could seek a third term in office without violating the country's constitution, which states that presidents shall be universally elected into office for a term of five years and can renew the term once. Those opposing Nkurunziza's bid for a third presidential term claimed that both the constitution and the Arusha peace deal that ended the 2005 civil war state that no one should be president for more than 10 years. Those backing Nkurunziza claimed that this does not apply to him since he was not voted in for his first term but selected by lawmakers.

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