Human Rights Council worries over Burkina Faso

Written by By, Hubert Faust, for CNN

In a report to the UN Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, raised his concerns over the security situation in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso has seen a number of violent incidents, including the abduction in June of five UN peacekeepers by jihadists, highlighting “serious security issues.”

“We reiterate our grave concern over the implementation of measures aimed at … combatting terrorism and terrorism-related crimes. We call upon the government to take concrete steps toward combatting terrorism in a manner that ensures respect for its international human rights obligations,” he wrote.

“We also draw attention to the recent deterioration of security situation in Burkina Faso, including the abduction in June 2017 of five United Nations peacekeepers, including an American national, by suspected Islamist armed groups.”

The Christian Association of Rochi (CAOR) took responsibility for the abduction of the Americans. The abducted are from an African Union Mission to Mali (AFISMA) contingent and reportedly kidnapped in Gao, northern Mali

Zeid Al Hussein in June spoke at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Libya, saying there are four million displaced people in the country.

“UN peacekeepers have been targeted by ISIS group. Yarmouk camps are the only human rights structures which have remained in ISIS hands and we’re worried that some of those children may become radicalized, become terrorists in the process,” he said.

Yarmouk camp, near Gaza. Credit: © Bette Mansfield courtesy Bette Mansfield

Yarmouk is located near the northwestern border town of Rafah in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

In the first quarter of 2017, Palestinian terror group Hamas used flamethrowers and wire cutters to break the main door of UNRWA (the UN relief agency for Palestine refugees), Zeid said, following a report by CNN back in February.

The agency has been helping Palestinians rebuild homes destroyed during the 2005 second Palestinian uprising, he added.

Security near Yarmouk has been an increasing concern for UNRWA, but Zeid said there is an “ongoing dialogue” with Hamas over the safety of its staff.

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