The security situation in Burundi has remained relatively calm in recent months, but the human rights situation remains worrying, the U.N says.
Its Special Envoy to Burundi is urging the government and opposition parties to come together to end the lingering political crisis.
‘‘The humanitarian situation is becoming worrying. Indeed, it is estimated that nearly 1.7 million people are threatened by food insecurity. And here I would like to reiterate the Secretary-General’s concerns about the continuing deterioration of the country’s socio-economic situation and the food insecurity that affects many Burundians’‘, Special Envoy to the Secretary General, Michel Kafando said while addressing the UN Security Council in New York on Wednesday.
President Pierre Nkurunziza suspended almost all international NGOs at the end of September. Kafando said the situation of Burundian refugees is not likely to improve in the immediate future.
‘‘I recall that the government has still not resumed cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Human rights violations and other abuses such as arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and other acts of intimidation persist as hate speech, particularly against opposition actors’‘, Kafando added.
Burundi has been gripped by violence since early 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term, widely seen as a breach of the constitution.
Subsequent clashes between security forces and rebels left hundreds dead and forced about half a million to flee. This revived memories of the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda, which has a similar ethnic mix.
The East African nation has been trying to find a peaceful solution to the political crisis through the Inter-Burundian Dialogue, which is led by the region and supported by the United Nations.
Burundi is also preparing for the 2020 elections and the UN hopes this can provide a definitive solution to the political crisis.