U.N. issues devastating Burundi HR report

More crimes against humanity were committed in Burundi in 2017 and 2018, whipped up by rhetoric from top officials including President Pierre Nkurunziza, a U.N. human rights report said.

Burundi has tried and failed to stop the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, set up by the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2016, and refuses to cooperate with it. The commission said last year that officials at the highest level were responsible for crimes against humanity.

“The Commission has reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity continue to be committed in Burundi,” the Commission’s latest report said.

“These crimes include murder, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence of comparable gravity, and persecution on political grounds.”

Nkurunziza’s spokesman and Burundi’s human rights minister declined to make an immediate comment.

Burundi has been seized by violence since early 2015 when Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term, widely seen as a breach of the constitution.

Clashes between security forces and rebels left hundreds dead and forced about half a million to flee — rattling a region still haunted by the memories of the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda, which has a similar ethnic mix to Burundi.

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