UN extends Burundi abuses probe
SWITZERLAND: The UN Human Rights Council voted Friday to extend the mission of an international probe into atrocities in Burundi, overriding strong pushback from the government accused of crimes against humanity.
The adoption of the European Union resolution to prolong the mandate by a year came a day after the council’s African bloc approved a separate measure to send a team of experts to Burundi that would report their findings to the government.
The controversial African proposal, strongly supported by Burundi’s UN delegation, angered Western delegations and rights groups.
They blasted it as an underhanded attempt to suppress the impact of the UN-backed probe, which has collected evidence of egregious crimes orchestrated by Burundi’s government and security forces.
The EU resolution extends the work of the independent Commission of Inquiry, which earlier this month accused the government of crimes against humanity, including executions and torture.
Burundi plunged into crisis in 2015 after the country’s President Pierre Nkurunziza sought a fiercely contested third term in office.
The violence claimed between 500 and 2,000 lives, according to differing tolls from the UN and civil society groups, while more than 400,000 Burundians have fled abroad.—AFP