UN calls for end to violence in Burundi
UN calls for end to violence in Burundi

[JURIST] United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] issued a statement [press release] on Friday calling for an end to the political violence and killings currently afflicting Burundi. In the statement, the Secretary General expressed “grave concerns” regarding the execution-style killings that have become a regular occurrence in the capital city of Bujumbura, and he condemned all forms of rhetoric which could incite further violence. The violence began in the wake of President Pierre Nkurunziza announcement that he would seek a third term of office, which he was voted into [JURIST report] in July. In an effort to curb the violence, President Nkurunziza announced [Aljazeera report] that all persons must turn their firearms over to the government by Saturday, or risk being treated as an enemy combatant.

Last month, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 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. In late September, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressed concern [JURIST report] about “an alarming upsurge in arrests, detention and killings” that have been occurring in Burundi since the beginning of September. Zeid said that many bodies have been found bound with their hands behind their back in the streets of Bujumbura with marks that appear to be consistent with torture. The unrest intensified in May after the Constitutional Court ruled [JURIST report] that President Nkurunziza could seek a third term in office without violating the country’s constitution, which states that presidents shall be universally elected into office for a term of five years and can renew the term once. Those opposing Nkurunziza’s bid for a third presidential term claimed that both the constitution and the Arusha peace deal that ended the 2005 civil war state that no one should be president for more than 10 years. Those backing Nkurunziza claimed that this does not apply to him since he was not voted in for his first term but selected by lawmakers.