Burundi rejects new UN report

Government says UN special advisor to Burundi is not 'neutral'

Felix Nkambeh Tih   | 28.02.2017
Burundi rejects new UN report


By Yvan Rukundo


The Burundian government on Tuesday rejected a new report recently submitted to the UN Security Council on the political and security crisis in the country.

"The report evokes unproven facts," the government said in a statement.

The report referred to a possible fourth mandate for which President Pierre Nkurunziza allegedly intends to run -- a reference the government deemed incomprehensible and in line with the opposition's stance criticizing the president's third term bid in July 2015.

Burundi has been the target of a series of international reports denouncing the political and humanitarian situation in the country.

Unrest in Burundi crisis started in April 2015 when Nkurunziza announced his candidacy for a controversial third term. The constitution allows two.

The crisis has led to the deaths of about 1,000 people and forced more than 300,000 to flee the country in the past two years, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Federation of Human Rights.

While a procedure for amending the constitution has recently been initiated, the government recalled that this issue was a matter of national sovereignty.

The UN principles of self-determination of peoples should leave Burundi free to determine its political regime, the statement said.

Last year, Burundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza asked the UN to replace Jamal Benomar, the special advisor to the UN secretary general on the situation in Burundi -- and the author of the report in question.

"He cannot therefore, from a moral point of view, present a neutral or balanced report on Burundi," the government added.

In Nov. 2016, Burundi suspended cooperation with the UN’s Independent Investigation on Burundi, accusing it of creating “false controversy” with claims of violence against political dissidents.

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