HRW: Intimidation, arrests and abuses during Burundi election
Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling for investigations into allegations of intimidation, arrests and human rights abuses during Burundi’s recent presidential election.
In a new report, the rights group cites “serious allegations” including targeted killings, arbitrary arrests, torture, intimidation and fraud. HRW insists the allegations “should be investigated and those responsible held accountable” as opposition groups inside Burundi claim the election itself was rigged in favour of the ruling candidate and newly-elected president, Evariste Ndayishimiye.
HRW calls for investigations into abuse claims
Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch, Lewis Mudge, says reports of widespread abuses during the build-up to the election, the campaign period and the vote itself should not be ignored.
“The elections took place in a highly repressive environment with no independent international observers,” he said in a statement. “Reports of killings, arbitrary arrests, beatings, and voter intimidation during the campaigns should not be brushed under the rug.”
Opposition group CNL reported that more 600 of its members were arrested during the campaign period and election day and Human Rights Watch has previously documented the killing and arbitrary arrests of the party’s members during the pre-election period.
During this period, the media was heavily restricted and accusations of human rights allegations were brushed aside by authorities in the country. Human Rights Watch is calling on upon international authorities to place appropriate pressure on the country to ensure free and fair elections are held.
Featured image: HRW