UN Security Council dispatches team to Burundi

ROUTINE DEATHS MUST STOP: US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power

ROUTINE DEATHS MUST STOP: US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power

The United Nations Security Council has sent its team to the Burundi in an urgent effort to encourage the resumption of dialogue between political players in the conflict with the aim of ending the deadly violence. The high profile delegation is comprised of 15 Ambassadors of major UN Security Council members including France and the US.

Speaking on Tuesday about the team’s visit to the conflict-blighted state, the French Ambassador to the UN, Francois Delattre said the situation in Burundi has reached a tipping point.

Ambassador Francois said the goal of the UNSC’ visit is to stop “the genie of ethnic violence to go out of the bottle.”

The 9-month conflict has recently escalated to routine deadly violence prompting fears the country is quickly slipping into a civil war or genocide.

“They cannot let it become business as usual that you wake up in the morning and there is a corpse on the street as you try to get to work, and that is what is starting to happen in Burundi,” US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power told VOA before departing for Bujumbura.

Ms. Power added the UNSC delegation will try to convince the Bujumbura government to budge and cooperate with the African Union in terms of deploying the proposed 5000 peacekeepers to the country.

The violence has thus far claimed nearly 500 lives and pushed over 230,000 into exile in neighbouring countries.

Despite regional efforts, and those of the African Union, the UN and the United States and other partners, the political players in the conflict are yet to resume serious dialogue to end the turmoil.

The UN Security Council’s visit to Burundi follows growing fears of massive human rights abuses in the country

The United States on Tuesday expressed “deep alarm” over numerous reports of “mass graves, a sharp increase in alleged enforced disappearances and torture, and reports of sexual violence by security forces.”

In a statement issued Tuesday, Mark C. Toner, Deputy State Department Spokesperson appealed to the authorities in Burundi to fully cooperate with human rights experts and investigators from the African Union to probe the allegations.

“It is imperative that the Government of Burundi remove all bureaucratic and practical roadblocks it has used to prevent the AU human rights and military observers from fulfilling their mandate for the past six months to investigate reports of violence committed by any side in the conflict,” Mr. Toner said.

Last month images of mass graves and mass murders in Bujumbura circulated on social media drawing widespread outrage and condemnation.

The Burundian military and police has been accused of executing young men opposed to the current government but the authorities maintain they just kill “assailants.”