NEW YORK — Human Rights Foundation (HRF) strongly condemns the decision taken by the Burundian government to ban three UN independent experts from entering the country. According to a letter sent by Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Aimé Nyamitwe, the three members of the UN Independent Investigation on Burundi (UNIIB) — Christof Heyns, Maya Sahli-Fadel, and Pablo de Greiff — are no longer welcome in the country. The decision comes weeks after the group of experts published a detailed reportexposing “gross, widespread, and systemic human rights violations” perpetrated by the government of Pierre Nkurunziza against its opponents. Burundi has suffered 18 months of continuous unrest since Nkurunziza announced he would pursue a third term in office.
“Democratic governments typically respond to reports exposing cases of torture, sexual violence, illegal detentions, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and mass graves by offering a thorough explanation and vowing to hold accountable the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. Dictatorships, however, respond by trying to silence, ban, or discredit the messenger,” said HRF president Thor Halvorssen. “We applaud the valuable work performed by the UNIIB, and call on the government to grant them unrestrained access to the country so that they can continue to monitor the dire human rights situation there. Nkurunziza’s regime must immediately stop its gross abuses against Burundians and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Halvorssen.
Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.