Burundi expels HRW researcher

May 20, 2010 12:00 am

, BUJUMBURA, May 20 – Burundi has ordered the Human Rights Watch researcher in the country to leave by June 5, accusing her of "prejudice" to the country\’s institutions, according to a letter seen by AFP Wednesday.

The order came only days after the New York-based rights watchdog called on authorities to act against numerous incidents of political violence ahead of a series of elections.

The report accused the ruling CNDD party and former rebel group National Liberation Forces of violations in the election run-up.

"As it is not the first time you are expressing views likely to be prejudicial to government institutions, the government has no choice but to cancel the privileges accorded to you," said the letter addressed to Neela Ghoshal and dated May 18.

"You are therefore asked to stop working as of Tuesday May 18 and finally leave Burundi on June 5, 2010 at 18h00 at the latest," added the letter signed by Foreign Minister Augustin Nsanze.

Ghoshal, a US citizen, has worked in the small central African country for three years and written reports on human rights violations and the political situation.

Burundi kicks off a marathon series of elections with local polls on Friday, to be followed by presidential ones in June and legislative the following month.

Nsanze\’s letter charged that Ghoshal "ignored all the necessary measures taken by the government to ensure transparent elections."

The report concentrates on events that "took place in January 2010, as if nothing has happened since," it said.


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