UN rights chief warns of increased torture, illegal detention in Burundi
UN rights chief warns of increased torture, illegal detention in Burundi

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Monday warned [press release] of an increase in torture and ill treatment in Burundi. In the last four months Zeid’s office has recorded more than 300 new cases of torture and ill-treatment. The human rights chief asked the Burundi government to put an immediate end to these “unacceptable and illegal practices.” Zeid recognized the government for releasing demonstrators who were being detained but reiterated that the increase in torture and ill-treatment was wrong. The high commissioner also condemned the targeting of members of the ruling CNDD-FDD party and the assassination of local officials.

Violence in Burundi began in the wake of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement that he would seek a third term of office, to which he was elected [JURIST report] in July. Last month UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Zeid expressed concern over increased violence and rights violations in Burundi and called for an “inclusive political dialogue” [JURIST report] 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.” In January the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report stating that Burundian authorities barred entry [JURIST report] into Burundi to independent rights experts dispatched by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate violations in the nation. Also in January Zeid 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.