The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] said Tuesday that Burundian authorities failed to provide entry [press briefing] to independent rights experts dispatched by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate rights violations in the nation. The team, composed of two Special Rapporteurs for the UN and a member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights expected entry Monday, but Burundian authorities failed to respond to access requests. The OHCHR released a statement [press release] calling on Burundian authorities to respond to the deployment of the UN experts, “[g]iven the [nation’s] rapidly deteriorating human rights situation.” The team is to assess the situation and make recommendations for improvement, and report to the Human Right’s Council in March.
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, warned [JURIST report] of increasing violence in Burundi. Last month 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.