AU to strengthen human rights mission in Burundi

February 28, 2016 12:28 pm
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"The AU will deploy 100 human rights observers and 100 military monitors to Burundi to monitor the situation," a statement on the South African presidency's website said/FILE
“The AU will deploy 100 human rights observers and 100 military monitors to Burundi to monitor the situation,” a statement on the South African presidency’s website said/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – The African Union is to boost its human rights and military observers in Burundi as part of efforts to calm the country’s long-running political crisis, South African President Jacob Zuma said Saturday.

Zuma led a delegation of five African leaders in talks with Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza on Friday after meeting opposition leaders, amid increasing violence and fears of a return to civil war.

Overview
  • Zuma led a delegation of five African leaders in talks with Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza on Friday after meeting opposition leaders, amid increasing violence and fears of a return to civil war.
  • "The AU will deploy 100 human rights observers and 100 military monitors to Burundi to monitor the situation," a statement on the South African presidency's website said.

The crisis, triggered by Nkurunziza’s controversial decision last April to run for a third term, which he won in an election in July, has seen violence become routine, with more than 400 people killed and nearly quarter of a million fleeing the country.

“The AU will deploy 100 human rights observers and 100 military monitors to Burundi to monitor the situation,” a statement on the South African presidency’s website said.

Led by Zuma and including the presidents of Mauritania, Senegal and Gabon, as well as Ethiopia’s prime minister, the delegation visited the capital Bujumbura on Thursday and Friday to seek a solution to Burundi’s 10-month-old political gridlock.

The AU agreed to send the delegation during a January summit when Burundi successfully faced down a plan to deploy 5,000 peacekeepers to the country.

The group met Nkurunziza as well as two opposition leaders, religious authorities, civil society representatives and a former president. The vast majority of opposition leaders and independent civil society representatives are currently in exile.

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