UN Human rights council to hold special session on Burundi
The United Nations Human Rights Council is scheduled to hold a special session to discuss and find a way forward on the ongoing violence in Burundi.
The session, which is set for today was requested by the united states and supported by 17 members of the Human Rights Council and 25 observer states. Ghana was the only African state that supported this measure. This will be the first such special session for the group since April, when the Human Rights Council convened to discuss terrorist attacks and human rights abuses by the terrorist organization Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.
Today's session will consider a draft resolution asking the U.N. human rights commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, to send a team of international experts to Burundi within 45 days to investigate the violence and recommend steps to ease tensions and control the situation.
The U.S. special envoy for Africa's Great Lakes region, Thomas Perriello, speaking to VOA journalists on Monday said that the situation in Burundi is grave and all focus must be on the security of the people.
Mr. Perriello visited Uganda recently, along with a team of envoys from the United Nations, African Union and European Union, to emphasize the need to launch a regional mediation for Burundi. He said he is optimistic the talks will begin soon in Uganda. According to him, talks should have started a while back
Burundi has been in a bad state since April this year when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term. According to critics, he was violating the nation’s constitution of two terms limit as well as an agreement that ended Burundi’s 12 year civil war. President Pierre was re-elected in July, but violence has since escalated.
According to an army spokesman, more than 80 people were killed on Friday by armed attackers who raided army facilities in the capital, Bujumbura. Among the dead were eight security officers and scores of assailants. United states Secretary of State John Kerry wrote on Twitter Sunday that the killings in Burundi must end, including "disproportionate response by security services."
The State Department on Sunday advised U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to Burundi, and recommended that those already in the country leave as soon as possible as political violence continues.
Burundi's foreign minister Alain Nyamitwe has responded that while any country wishing to evacuate its nationals has the right to do so, the Burundian government will continue to fulfill its responsibility to protect not only its citizens but all foreigners. According to him, the government has the security situation under control as no expatriate has been threatened or killed in Burundi since the demonstrations began.
According to the United Nations, violence in Burundi since April has killed more than 240 people and prompted 220,000 Burundians to flee the country.