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Mass grave discovered in Burundi a day after UN convoy arrives


As political turmoil in Burundi continues to escalate, three United Nations independent experts have arrived in the country to asses human violations.

After more than 10 months of skirmishes in the East African country the experts will investigate numerous violations with a view of preventing further deterioration of the human rights situation.

“During this visit, and in line with our mandate, we will engage with the authorities and all other relevant stakeholders. Our aim is to help the State fulfil its human rights obligations, ensure accountability for human rights violations and abuses, including by identifying alleged perpetrators,” said Christof Heyns, one of the experts.

The arrival of the experts coincides with the day that government officials discovered a mass grave with around 30 corpses in the capital Bujumbura.

There have been suspicions over mass graves after dead bodies could not be located at local morgues.

The country is engulfed into violence following President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in office.

At least 400 people have died and hundreds of thousands have fled the country that is on the brink of civil war.

Later in the month, the experts will update the Human Rights Council on its initial findings and conclusions.

The experts from South Africa, Algeria and Colombia are part of the United Nations Independent Investigation on Burundi (UNIIB).

“We have a clear mandate from the Human Rights Council to help prevent Burundi from falling into the abyss. Our investigation is also designed to assist the people of Burundi as they work to adopt appropriate transitional justice measures and to maintain the spirit of the Arusha Accord,” said Sahli-Fadel.

During their mission, the experts will meet with national authorities, the Human Rights National Commission, as well as other stakeholders, including the United Nations Country Team and NGOs.

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