UCF Global Perspectives


Burundi Forces United Nations to Close Human Rights Office

Jasmine Masri, Intern, Africa

March 7, 2019

The Burundi Government has forced the United Nations to close its local human rights office after operating in Burundi for 23 years (AP News). Burundi previously displayed opposition to the U.N office, suspending all cooperation in October 2016 after a U.N investigation reported Burundi’s involvement in crimes against humanity (Reuters). Burundi’s government has denied many allegations of human rights violations, stating that the United Nations’ investigations are “totally biased and unfounded” (Region Week). In December 2018, the Burundi Government requested that the human rights office in Burundi close because of progress made in the protection of human rights (Africa News).

Michelle Bachelet, U.N. human rights chief, stated that Presdient Nkurunziza’s decision to run for re-election has “seriously jeopardized” securing human rights in Burundi (AP News). Nkurunziza’s win granted him a third term which led to months of violent protests that killed more than 1,200 people (AP News). Since 1995, the U.N human rights office in Burundi has played an active role in incorporating human rights into agreements, organizations, and legislative reforms (Africa News). Although the U.N. closed the office, Bachelet promises to continue to “shed light on human rights concerns” through other projects (Region Week).






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