Burundi didn’t hold fair poll, human rights violated: UN

UNITED NATIONS: Burundi’s parliamentary elections on Monday were not fair or free and humanrights were violated, the United Nations said yesterday. In Washington, the State Department said the United States suspended several security assistance programmes it had with Burundi.

Burundi has been locked in its worst political crisis since its civil war ended a decade ago, with protests erupting in late April against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to seek a third term in office. Dozens have been killed. The opposition boycotted the parliamentary election on Monday. A presidential vote is scheduled for July 15 and the UN and others have called for it to be postponed. Opponents say the president’s attempt to stand again violates the constitution.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq said the preliminary conclusion of the UN electoral observer mission in Burundi was that “the overall environment was not conducive for free, credible and inclusive elections.”

“Episodes of violence and explosions preceded and in some cases accompanied election day activities,” Haq said. “The UN mission ... observed media freedom restrictions, violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” “This includes infringements to the right of the political opposition to campaign freely, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detentions, and acts of violence committed by armed youth groups aligned with political parties,” he said.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby said the US urged Nkurunziza “to place the welfare of Burundi’s citizens above his own political ambitions and participate in dialogue with the opposition and civil society to identify a peaceful solution to this deepening crisis.”