[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council [official website] approved a resolution on Thursday to dispatch experts to investigate human rights violations [press release] in Burundi, condemning violence in the country, use of excessive force by officials, and restrictions on freedoms. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] said the UN must take immediate action [press release] to prevent a civil war in Burundi. He also urged government officials in Burundi to disarm militias. The council requested that government officials protect people against violence by investigating alleged human rights abuses and holding those responsible accountable. The OHCHR’s actions come just days after attacks in military camps in Bujumbura killed dozens of people last week.
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. 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 OHCHR 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.