A report issued Thursday by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization calls for sanctions against individuals in Burundi responsible for summary executions, torture and other serious human rights violations.
The HRW appeal follows an investigation and interviews with more than 20 victims, human rights activists and other witnesses who described how the Imbonerakure – the youth wing of the ruling party in support of President Pierre Nkurunziza – terrorize victims and their villages in six different provinces of Burundi. Almost all of the serious incidents of abuse have occurred within the past four months.
“The UN, the (International Criminal Court) and Burundi’s regional and international partners should mobilize at the highest levels and take action now to hold those responsible for the serious crimes against Burundians accountable and halt the violence and abuse in Burundi,” said Ida Sawyer, the HRW director for Central Africa, in a statement.
The UN Security Council should impose travel bans and asset freezes against those individuals responsible for human rights violations, without affecting the general Burundi population, Human Rights Watch said. The group also asks the council to establish an expert panel to identify the perpetrators of torture, sexual violence and other abuses, and establish the scope for and apply targeted sanctions.
Burundi plunged into a violent darkness in 2015, when Nkurunziza announced he was running for a third term in violation of the country’s constitutional limits. The Imbonerakure, alongside government security forces, have cracked down on the political opposition, journalists, NGOs and others who have spoken out against the government.
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