HRW: Intimidation, arrests and abuses during Burundi election

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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

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.