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UN official calls for national effort to end Burundi crisis

[JURIST] A top UN official on Tuesday called on Burundi to form a "nationally-led and owned effort" to find a solution to the violence the country has faced. Jamal Benomar [official profile], the Secretary-General's Special Advisor, also stated [UN News Centre] that the international community must stand ready to support that effort. In talks held in Uganda by President Yoweri Museveni, the UN official called on the country's long history of dialogues and hopes that lessons could be learned from it. Despite repeated calls for peace, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza on Wednesday said that he would fight any African Union [official website] peacekeepers who set foot on Burundian soil.

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 Human Rights Council approved a resolution [JURIST report] to dispatch experts to investigate human rights violations in Burundi, condemning violence in the country, use of excessive force by officials and restrictions on freedoms. Last month Zeid condemned [JURIST report] the suspension of 10 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Burundi. Also in November 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. In October the OHCHR 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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