A UN-appointed panel of experts released its findings [UN report] from an investigation regarding human rights violations in Burundi on Thursday. According to the experts, these human rights violations include illegal executions, torture, inhumane treatment, sexual and gender-based violence, arbitrary arrests and detention, and orchestrated kidnappings. The experts also attest that many of these violations were committed by members of the National Intelligence Service, police, and occasionally the Imbonerakure, who are youth members of the ruling party. The investigation began in April 2015, concluding with nearly 500 testimonies of alleged human rights violations. The Commission of Inquiry on Burundi will present their final report at the thirty-sixth session of the Human Rights Council in September.
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 High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] 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 International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] 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.