Burundi bans 3 UN rights investigators over report on abuses

KIGALI, Rwanda - The Burundian government has banned three U.N. human rights investigators from entering the country following the release of a report that cited serious rights violations in the East African country.

A letter on Monday signed by Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe said U.N. investigators Pablo de Greiff of Colombia, Christof Heyns of South Africa, and Maya Sahli-Fadel of Algeria are no longer welcome in Burundi.

The three investigators from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights are connected to a report released last month that implicated Burundian government officials in serious rights violations targeting the government's opponents.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, speaking in New York, called on Burundi to continue to co-operate with its human rights investigators.

"I think it's critical that Burundi and every other country co-operate fully with the U.N.'s human rights mechanism and that is including working with those who represent it," he said.

Hundreds of people have died since President Pierre Nkurunziza pursued and won a third term that his opponents said was unconstitutional.

Last week Burundi threatened to withdraw from the International Criminal Court after the Hague-based court said it will investigate ongoing violence in Burundi.

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