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UN rights chief warns against increasing violence in Burundi

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official profile] expressed his concerns on Friday regarding rising conflicts Burundi that have given rise to gang rapes, torture, ethnic repression, mass graves, and secret detentions and disappearances. Zeid reports that 432 people have been killed [AP report] in Burundi since last April. He has called for the investigation of human rights violations and nine mass grave following violent attacks that took place in Bujumbura last month. Zeid's comments follow the UN's urges [JURIST report] last month to form a "nationally-led and owned effort" to find a solution to the violence the country has faced.

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 UN human rights office 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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