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UN commission calls on Burundi to end ongoing human rights violations

[JURIST] The UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi [official website] reported [materials] on Monday that various crimes against humanity have been committed in the troubled country since investigations began in April 2015. In June the commission released evidence [JURIST report] of human rights violations such as illegal executions, torture, inhumane treatment, sexual and gender-based violence, arbitrary arrests and detention, and orchestrated kidnappings. According to the commission, the perpetrators include intelligence, police, and military officials as well as members of the Imbonerakure, a youth league of the ruling party. The commission has expressed concern over the continuation of human rights violations as well as Burundi's lack of willingness to document human rights abuses and hold perpetrators accountable. The commission has called on Burundi to abide by its obligations as a member of the Human Rights Council [official website] and put an end to such abuses. Furthermore, the commission has requested the involvement of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and African Union [official websites] to help find a resolution. The commission will release a final report on the matter later this month at the thirty-sixth session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The controversy from President Pierre Nkurunziza's third term has plunged the country [HRW backgrounder] into a period of political violence and human rights violations. Last year, a report [HRW report] of government forces targeting perceived opponents with threats and violence heightened. As a result thousands of Burundians have fled the country [JURIST report]. In 2015, the UN condemned [JURIST report] the suspension of 10 non-governmental organizations in Burundi, calling it "an attempt by Burundian authorities to silence dissenting voices." In October the National Assembly of Burundi [official website, in French] voted to withdraw [JURIST report] from the ICC after the ICC began investigating into how the government interacts with those who oppose Nkurunziza. Nkurunziza was elected [JURIST report] for his third term July 2015 causing public protest and violence.

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