Sun, Apr 03, 2016 - Page 6 News List

UN sets stage for Burundi police deployment

MORE EYES:The resolution asks the UN head to speak to the Burundian government and coordinates with the African Union to present options to increase monitoring

AP, UNITED NATIONS

African Union peacekeepers from Burundi ride in a truck near Mogadishu, Somalia, on May 22, 2012.

Photo: Reuters

The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution setting the stage for deployment of UN police to Burundi, where killings, torture and increased disappearances have created a climate of fear and led more than 250,000 people to flee to neighboring countries.

The resolution requests that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon consults Burundi’s government and coordinates with the African Union to present options within 15 days for deployment of UN police to increase monitoring of the security situation, promote respect for human rights and advance the rule of law.

Burundi has been hit by unrest since April last year, when Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his decision to seek a third term, which he eventually won.

His government has been wary of outside intervention, last year rejecting the idea of an AU peacekeeping force and calling foreign troops an “invasion.”

The French-drafted resolution welcomes the consent of Burundi’s authorities to increase the number of African Union human rights observers from 100 to 200 and allow 100 African Union military experts.

It says that 30 human rights observers and 15 military observers have been deployed so far.

Burundian Ambassador to the UN Albert Shingiro said the government “is ready to discuss and to come to an agreement on the nature, the size and the missions” of a UN police presence that is unarmed.

Shingiro said that the option of an “international unarmed presence” was a recommendation of the last African Union heads of state summit.

French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre said the main objective of the resolution is to back African efforts to help Burundi emerge from its crisis.

The resolution strongly condemns human rights violations including extra-judicial killings, sexual violence, torture, intimidation of civil society organizations and journalists and restrictions on fundamental freedoms.

Two weeks ago, UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein told the council that many people in Burundi are living in “terror” with almost daily grenade attacks and arbitrary arrests, while perpetrators go unpunished.

The resolution reiterates deep concern at “the persisting political impasse in the country” and stresses the urgency of convening “a genuine and inclusive inter-Burundian dialogue.”

The final draft was changed to overcome an objection from the US. A reference to “disarmament” was removed from a section calling for the UN team to work with the government and other parties “in the areas of disarmament, security and rule of law.”

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