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UN calls for 'inclusive political dialogue' to end Burundi crisis

[JURIST] UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official profiles] on Friday expressed concern [statement, text] over increased violence and rights violations in Burundi, and called for an "inclusive political dialogue" to end the 11-year struggle. Speaking to the council about his trip to Burundi last month, the Secretary General stated, "I cannot stress enough the profound humanitarian consequences that political unrest, violence and impunity carry for the population." Addressing the UN Security Council, the UN officials laid out a plan for the East African Community (EAC), the African Union (AU) [official websites] and the UN to work together as mediators, and called on the Burundi government to "summon the necessary courage and confidence" to open the political process.

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. In January, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report stating that Burundian authorities barred entry into Burundi to independent rights experts dispatched by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate violations in the nation. Also in January, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein warned [JURIST report] of increasing violence in Burundi. In December, the UN Human Rights Council approved [JURIST report] a resolution 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 the UN Security Council unanimously adopted [JURIST report] a resolution condemning the political violence and killings currently afflicting Burundi.

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