UN could vote for police presence in Burundi

UN Security Council could vote on possible police presence in Burundi as violence and conflict continues in country

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Violence escalates in Burundi following controversial reelection of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

The UN Security Council could vote as early as Friday on a French-drafted resolution for a UN police presence to help suppress violence in Burundi.

The draft resolution requests UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to hold talks with the Burundian government and the African Union and to present options to the Security Council within 15 days.

The text, obtained by Agence France Presse on Thursday, provides for the "deployment of a United Nations police contribution to increase the United Nations capacity to monitor the security situation, promote the respect of human rights and advance rule of law" in Burundi.

Burundi has been in a cycle of violence since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s victory in a disputed election last July following his decision to seek a third term despite a constitutional two-term limit.

United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said recently that Burundi is afflicted by terrorism amid continued human rights violations and is on the brink of a sudden escalation of turmoil.

Hussein said that serious human rights abuses continue and reports of torture have been on the rise since the beginning of the year.

A recent visit by UN rights officials to detention centers in Burundi's capital Bujumbura found that almost half of detainees had been tortured or ill-treated, some seriously, he said.

Russian Deputy Ambassador Petr Iliichev told reporters that he was ready to support the text, if it contained clear provisions on consulting the Burundian government.

Iliichev said he envisaged a small deployment of less than 100 police officers to help Burundi ensure its security forces respect human rights standards.

The draft resolution urges the government of Burundi and all parties to "reject any kind of violence and condemn any public statement inciting violence or hatred."

More than 400 people have been killed and about 3,500 arrested in Burundi since April last year under the government crackdown, according to the UN figures. More than 240,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, fearing a possible genocide.

There was a civil war in Burundi from 1993 to 2005 and approximately 300,000 people died in the conflict between rebels from the country's majority Hutu population and an army dominated by the Tutsi minority.

The African Union and United Nations previously warned of the possiblity of tribal war and genocide in Burundi.

TRTWorld and agencies