UN investigation raises concerns over Burundi election violence

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The United Nations’ Commission of Inquiry on Burundi has accused the ruling party and authorities in the country of using strategic violence to influence the outcome of its most recent presidential election.

The commission’s report concludes that the August poll was not marred by any of the violence that dogged the previous election in 2015 but adds that serious human rights violence were committed against opposition figures and intimidation was used to skewer the results. The report documents summary executions, arbitrary arrests, torture and sexual violence against both men and women.

UN investigation documents tactical violence

The UN Commission of Inquiry has been investigating the human rights situation in Burundi since 2016, following the horrific violence surrounding the country’s 2015 presidential election. In its fourth and final year of investigation, the commission says there has been no significant reduction in the widespread and systematic human rights violations taking place in the country throughout this period.

Despite there being no repeat of the election violence that marred the 2015 presidential poll, the commission finds that human rights violation and political intimidation are just as prevalent.

In the build-up to this year’s election, the commission accuses the ruling party and Burundian authorities of undermining political opposition. It documents the arrest and detention of CNL members – some of whom were tortured and others killed.

Burundi’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Renovat Tabu, has rejected the report and insists his country has made great progress since 2015.

Featured image: By Basil D Soufi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15465435

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.