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Burundi bars 3 UN human rights investigators, France unhappy

Burundi bars 3 UN human rights investigators, France unhappy


Burundi has barred three UN investigators from accessing the country after they accused the government of violating the fundamental human rights.

This follows a report in September that thousands of people had been tortured, suffered sexual abuse or disappeared during political violence that ravaged most parts of the country.

Last week, Burundi’s government dismissed a U.N. decision to set up a commission of inquiry to identify perpetrators of killings and torture, saying the decision was based on a one-sided account of events in the African nation.

The government decision to bar the investigators and to suspend cooperation with the UN body was officially announced on Monday by Philipe Nzobonariba, the government spokesperson speaking on the state broadcaster.

As per the move, the UN office will now need to seek clearance from the government before deploying any staff to the country.

France reacts

A French foreign ministry official has said the French government was concerned by the decision by the Burundian government to suspend the UN investigators.

‘‘France deplores the decision by the Burundi authorities to declare personae non gratae the three members of the independent experts mission on the human rights situation in Burundi.

‘‘This decision harms the credibility of Burundi’s commitment to respect human rights,”
Reuters quoted Romain Nadal as saying.

Burundi also announced plans to withdraw from the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) last week. The ICC had announced that it will investigate the April 2015 violence that resulted in the death of at least 450 people with thousands fleeing the country.

The country’s vice-president justified the decision to quit the ICC. He spoke to state-radio minutes after a government meeting leaked to the media.

“We found that it was necessary to withdraw from that organization so we can really be free,” First Vice President Gaston Sindimwo said.

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