Impose sanctions on Burundian officials, plead rights groups to UN

Human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders, wrote an open letter to the United Nations Security Council urging it to impose "targeted sanctions" on Burundian officials over alleged human rights violations in the region.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council will gather in a closed meeting to discuss the ongoing security situation in Burundi and the surrounding Great Lakes area.

Human Rights Watch's deputy director Akshaya Kumar says Burundian and international groups were prompted to speak out because of the silence of the global community.

Kumar adds that the call from human rights groups was also spurred by the ongoing abuses in the region.

What motivated our call was the continuing repression, closing space, abuse, detentions and torture of individuals who have the temerity to speak out against the government or are thought to be opposition.

Akshaya Kumar, Deputy United Nations Director for Human Rights Watch

The UN has ordered a commission of inquiry into the abuses of the Burundian government, but the state has said it will not allow the UN officials into its borders.

The UN Security Council has not acted on sanctions because of veto by China and Russsia.

However, Kumar says other member states also seem unwilling to hear the "difficult truths" of Burundian people.

Although it would be easy to blame the Chinese and Russsians. In this case we have an uphill battle with other council members as well. They should be pushed to take the right side on this issue.

Akshaya Kumar, Deputy United Nations Director for Human Rights Watch

Take a listen her explain the Burundian conflict and the difficulty fighting atrocities:


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