[JURIST] The US State Department [official website] released a statement [press release] Tuesday expressing concern over reports of "serious human rights violations and abuses" in Burundi. Allegations of mass graves, sexual violence by security forces, and enforced disappearances and torture are being reported by both the UN and the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights [press releases]. The State Department called for the government of Burundi to concede to the internationally mandated deployment of African Union [official website] human rights observers to assess the claims and for the government of Burundi to take action against unlawful violence.
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 High Commission for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official profile], warned of increasing violence in Burundi [JURIST report]. Last 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. In November Zeid condemned [JURIST report] the suspension of 10 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.