UN human rights office deeply alarmed by reports of killings of 220 villagers — Global Issues

One day in late February, attacks allegedly carried out by the military on two villages killed more than 220 civilians, including 56 children, according to media reports.

Additionally, at least two international media outlets, the BBC and Voice of America, have been “suspended” in the past few days following reports of deadly attacks.

OHCHR Spokesperson Marta Hurtado called for an immediate end to restrictions on press freedom and civil space.

“Freedom of expression, including the right to access information, is vitally important in any society. This is especially true in the context of Burkina Faso’s transition.” she said. statement.

Burkina Faso has been under military rule since early 2022 amid an insurgency by extremist armed groups that has sparked a series of coups and counter-coups.

Captain Ibrahim Traore was appointed interim president in September 2022, and the interim government continues to fight rebel forces, with further reports of counter-coup attempts.

Unable to verify claim

Ms. Hurtado said OHCHR is unable to independently verify reports of alleged massacres due to inaccessibility;It is important that allegations of such serious violations and abuses by various actors are brought to light. and the transition authorities Promptly conduct thorough, fair and effective investigations”.

“Perpetrators must be held accountable and victims’ rights to truth, justice and reparation must be protected. Fighting impunity and holding people accountable is paramount “To ensure that people have confidence in the rule of law and social cohesion,” she stressed.

multifaceted challenges

Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; I visited the country in late March.There, he highlighted the multifaceted challenges facing the Burkinabe people since the overthrow of the democratically elected government in January 2022.

In all, around 6.3 million people out of a population of 20 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, and OHCHR has identified 1,335 violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law as of 2023, including at least 3,800 civilian casualties. was recorded.

“Armed groups were responsible for the majority of violations against civilians in incidents involving more than 86 percent of the victims,” ​​Türk said. Said“The protection of civilians is our top priority. This senseless violence must be stopped and the perpetrators held accountable.”

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