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Burundi cuts ties with UN rights body

Burundi said on Tuesday it had suspended co-operation with the UN’s main human rights body over its “complicity” in a report accusing Bujumbura of systematic abuses and warning of a risk of genocide.

The move came a day after the small central African state barred the report’s three authors.

“Following the complicity of the UN High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Burundi in the drafting of the dishonest and controversial report...the government of Burundi has decided to suspend all co-operation and collaboration with this office,” read a statement from the government.

Bujumbura added it had asked the OHCHR to set up a team to renegotiate the “mandate, duration and size” of its office in Burundi.

This consists of about 20 international staff and a network of Burundian staff deployed across the country.

Pablo de Greiff from Colombia, Christof Heyns from South Africa and Maya Sahli-Fadel of Algeria had been appointed in December to lead the independent probe which led to their being declared personae non grata.

Their report, issued last month.

said “gross human rights violations have and are taking place (in Burundi), committed primarily by state agents and those linked to them.”

Thousands of people have been tortured, suffered sexual abuse or disappeared, while arbitrary detention has happened “on a massive scale,” the report said.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Monday expressed disapproval of Burundi’s decision to bar the authors.

Jimirasire

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