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UN rights chief: suspension of NGOs in Burundi 'deeply regrettable'

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official website] on Wednesday condemned [press release] the suspension of 10 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Burundi, calling it "an attempt by Burundian authorities to silence dissenting voices and to limit the democratic space." The commissioner noted that these 10 NGOs join five media outlets suspended in June, which "reduces the chances of success of the proposed inter-Burundian dialogue, a key step to moving the country away from the increasingly bloody path it has been following over the past few months." Of the NGOs, at least half were committed to protecting human rights, including the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons [advocacy website].

Violence in Burundi began in the wake of President Pierre Nkurunziza's announcement that he would seek a third term of office, which he was voted into [JURIST report] in July. Earlier this month, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted [JURIST report] a resolution condemning the political violence and killings currently afflicting Burundi. Shortly before, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement calling for [JURIST report] an end to the political violence and killings in Burundi. 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.

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