As part of an ongoing conversation with the government about enhancing the nation’s human rights record, the European Union said on Tuesday that sanctions against three Burundian officials, including the prime minister, had been withdrawn.
“The European Union (EU) has reviewed its restrictive measures in view of the situation in Burundi and has decided… to delist three individuals,” it said in a statement.
Gervais Ndirakobuca, the recently appointed prime minister of Burundi, Godefroid Bizimana, a top advisor in the president’s office, and Leonard Ngendakumana, a former senior military figure, were all released from sanctions.
Following the contested reelection of then-president Pierre Nkurunziza that year, the EU accused many Burundian officials of engaging in actions endangering democracy and slapped travel restrictions and asset bans on them in 2015.
After Nkurunziza’s passing in 2020, President Evariste Ndayishimiye took over. The EU stated in the statement that it was still in communication with the Burundian government about enhancing governance and the rule of law.
“The EU is seriously concerned that major challenges remain unaddressed and unresolved,” the bloc said.
It requested that Bujumbura step up measures to better defend political and civil rights, free political prisoners, make it easier for refugees to return, and ensure the independence of the judiciary.
The 11 million-person country in central Africa is among the poorest in the world, and the United Nations reports that rampant human rights abuses, like as executions, disappearances, torture, and gang rapes of supposed political opponents, have distinguished its politics throughout the years.
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