Burundi under fire at U.N. for expelling UN human rights team

By REUTERS
September 11, 2018 20:06
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GENEVA - Burundi's ambassador in Geneva struggled to explain to the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday why his government had thrown out a UN team that the Council, with Burundi's backing, had sent to investigate human rights abuses in the country.

Deputy Human Rights Commissioner Kate Gilmore told the Council that her office could not deliver a promised report on human rights in Burundi because the government had not cooperated with the expert team, who were deployed in March and told their visas were canceled in April.

Burundi has been gripped by violence since early 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term, widely seen as a breach of the constitution.

Last week the Commission of Inquiry said crimes against humanity were still being committed in Burundi, whipped up by rhetoric from top officials including Nkurunziza. Burundi called the accusations "lies."

The Commission is seeking a renewal of its mandate from the 47-member Human Rights Council, which began a three-week session on Monday.

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