March 5, 2019 / 10:34 AM / 2 months ago

Burundi forces United Nations to shut human rights office -U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) - Burundi has forced the United Nations to shut its local human rights office after 23 years, U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday.

Bachelet said the central African state’s government had declared it had made sufficient progress in human rights, so that the existence of the U.N. office was no longer justified.

“It is with deep regret that we have had to close our office in Burundi after a 23-year presence in the country,” she said in a statement.

Many advancements in human rights in Burundi had been jeopardised since 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term, Bachelet added.

Violence surged after the announcement, which many saw as a breach of the constitution. He won re-election but the decision to stand sparked protests and a security crackdown.

In October 2016, Burundi suspended all cooperation with the U.N. office in Burundi, following publication of a report by a U.N. independent investigation that said the government and its supporters were responsible for crimes against humanity.

Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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