Burundi’s government has asked the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to close down its office in the country’s capital, Bujumbura within two months.
According to a senior official of the country’s foreign ministry, a notice was given to the UN Resident Coordinator in Burundi, Garry Conille on Wednesday for onward transmission to the Geneva office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.
“All international staff must be redeployed immediately and the Office has two months to pack its bags and close its doors permanently,” the source said.
Burundi had since October, 2016 suspended all collaborations with the human rights office, accusing it of complicity in the drafting of a UN report that highlighted serious violations of human rights and possible crimes against humanity by Burundian authorities.
Burundi has been embroiled in a political crisis since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to contest for a third controversial term in April 2015. He was re-elected in July of the same year.
According to estimates by the International Criminal Court (ICC), the violence that accompanied the crisis killed at least 1,200 people and displaced more than 400,000 between April 2015 and May 2017.
Burundi boycotted an East African Community summit in November which was meant to discuss its ongoing political crisis. The country also clashed with the African Union (AU) last week following its issuance of an arrest warrant against former president Pierre Buyoya, who is currently an AU peace envoy.
In 2017, Burundi became the first country to leave the ICC after the latter launched an investigation into alleged human rights atrocities in the country.