UN human rights body to discuss Burundi violence

GENEVA - The UN's top human rights body opened an urgent special session Thursday to take up the rising violence in Burundi, with the U.S.

See Full Article

leading a diplomatic push aiming to deploy a mission of experts and launch an investigation of abuses.

At least 87 people were killed on Dec. 11 in attacks on military facilities in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura. Just weeks ago, the African country was elected as a member of the 47-member Human Rights Council based in Geneva. UN officials have expressed fears that the African country is headed toward civil war.

Burundi has been in turmoil since the April announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza would seek a third term in office, which he won in a disputed election in July.

The UN human rights chief, speaking to the council, cited new UN figures that at least 400 people have been killed since April 26, and nearly 3,500 arrested in the political crisis. He said at least 220,000 people have fled the country.

"The events of last week confirmed the extent to which violence and intimidation are catapulting the country back to the past - to Burundi's deeply troubled, dark and horrendously violent past," High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein said. "The time for piecemeal responses and fiddling around the edges is over."

Zeid called for border controls, a government effort to disarm pro-government militias, efforts to stop the flow of weapons into Burundi, and consideration of "the use of drones" as one way to help monitor frontiers.

Elisa Nkerabirori, a representative of Burundi's Human Rights Ministry, spoke on her government's behalf. She said the session was called in "haste" and that her government had sought a delay to avoid a schedule conflict with a meeting of the World Trade Organization in Kenya that has drawn many African diplomats.

She said her government praised the "professionalism" of police and security forces to protect innocent civilians

UN officials say the main sticking points in a draft resolution that would authorize the deployment of experts centre on how quickly an investigative team could be sent in and when it would report back to the Human Rights Council.

The text was expected to be voted on and approved later Thursday. It stops short of a full-fledged commission of inquiry, the highest level of investigation that the panel can authorize.

African Union nations, meanwhile, have appeared reticent. Only one African country, Ghana, publicly signed onto the U.S.-led push for the special session backed by dozens of Western and other countries. The AU is carrying out a fact-finding mission in Burundi.

UN officials fear the violence in Burundi could take an ethnic turn in a country with a large Hutu majority and Tutsi minority - like neighbouring Rwanda.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Model claims Zimbabwe's first lady whipped her with extension cord

    World News CTV News
    JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's first lady remained out of sight Friday, several days after a young model claimed Grace Mugabe whipped her with an extension cord in a luxury hotel in South Africa. South African authorities are weighing a request by Zimbabwe's government for diplomatic immunity for the first lady, who has not commented since the alleged assault Sunday night. Source
  • What we know about the suspected Barcelona, Cambrils attackers

    World News CBC News
    Three people have been arrested and five suspects are dead following the vehicle attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, Spain on Thursday and early Friday. Spanish authorities say two people were arrested shortly after the attack in Barcelona — a Moroccan and a Spanish national from Melilla, a Spanish enclave in North Africa — but neither is believed to be the driver of the van that plowed into pedestrians in the city's picturesque Las Ramblas district, killing 13 people and injuring more than…
  • Buildings renamed, monuments fall as Indigenous oppression is acknowledged

    Canada News CBC News
    While Canadians observing the violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., may feel assured this country does not have hundreds of U.S. Civil War monuments, some statues and buildings divide Canadians along similar lines. One is the statue in Halifax of Edward Cornwallis, a governor of Nova Scotia and a military officer credited by the British for founding the city in 1749. Source
  • Minor leak balloons into major web outage at StatsCan: documents

    Canada News CBC News
    An incident involving a leaky air conditioner at Statistics Canada's Ottawa data centre in June mushroomed into a major outage that, among other problems, left some exporters' trucks stuck at the American border. The rapid escalation of a minor spill into a 30-hour crisis was no accidental series of escalating events, says the former head of the agency. Source
  • Indigenous warriors find a new weapon: the cellphone

    Canada News CBC News
    Every few months in Saskatchewan, a racial incident blows up and captures national headlines. The incident is typically followed by public demonstrations, social media reactions and racist remarks. This repeated friction is beginning to define Indigenous-white relations in the province. Source
  • Western farmers worry they'll pay the price of saving supply management under NAFTA

    Canada News CBC News
    Kevin Auch has been putting in long hours on his southern Alberta farm harvesting durum wheat — and also fretting about distant trade negotiations that may affect the price. He wasn't pleased, earlier this week, when Canada's foreign affairs minister vowed to defend supply management on Canadian farms in the NAFTA negotiations just getting underway. Source
  • Removal not the only way to deal with racist relics, historians say

    World News CBC News
    As momentum builds to tear down monuments and rename buildings that are deemed racist relics of the past, some historians say offensive memorials should remain intact to deepen education and even bridge divides. Hundreds of statues remain across the U.S. Source
  • For ISIS, Barcelona is another trophy to add to tally of attacks on Europe's iconic sites

    World News CBC News
    The deadly attack on locals and tourists walking through Barcelona's Las Ramblas district is part of a strategy on the part of ISIS to target popular destinations in major cities across Europe and a signal that any major metropolitan area could be hit, say some who have studied similar attacks. Source
  • Ex neo-Nazi says Charlottesville protest an opportunity for parents to combat hate

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - A former neo-Nazi from Vancouver says the violence in Charlottesville, Va., presents an opportunity for parents and educators to become more aware of how easily youth can be lured into a seemingly exciting but potentially deadly world of hate. Source
  • Demand across Canada outpaces supply for solar eclipse glasses

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - Ali Van Orman is still looking for specialized glasses to protect her family's eyes during Monday's solar eclipse because she never counted on demand totally eclipsing supply. She tried to buy a coveted pair of solar eclipse glasses for herself and two children from Amazon back in July, but the hot commodities wouldn't have arrived in time. Source