The United Nations has called on Burundi’s government to reverse its decision to ban the African country’s oldest human rights organization.
Burundi’s Ministry of Interior issued the ban this week, accusing the rights group Ligue Iteka of tarnishing the country’s image and “sowing hatred and division within the Burundian community.”
U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq on Wednesday said the group “carries out crucial work in monitoring and documenting human rights abuses committed in Burundi, which is all the more important given the precarious human rights situation in the country.”
Haq said that along with urging a reversal of the ban, the U.N. is calling on Burundi’s government to reconsider restrictions on other human right and civil society organizations imposed in the past three months.
A statement signed by the interior minister Pascal Barandagiye said the rights organisation’s recalcitrance necessitated the complete ban decided by a Commission of Inquiry.
However, the chairman of Ligue Iteka, Anshaire Nikoyagize, said the activities of the organisation will not be affected in any way by the ban.
In November, Ligue Iteka in partnership with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) published a report accusing the government of repression and state-sponsored violence.