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UN Security Council unanimously backs move to deploy UN police in Burundi

The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution to deploy a UN police presence to Burundi. The move follows nearly a year of violence and political upheaval.

The UN Security Council resolution sets the stage for deployment of UN police to Burundi, where reports of

murder, torture and disappearances

have led more than 250,000 people to flee to neighboring countries.

Drafted by France, the resolution asks Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to come up with various options within 15 days for the deployment of UN police - in consultation with the Burundian government and the African Union.

Burundi protests

Many people protested against a third term for President Nkurunziza, who officially won last July's election

The police contribution aims to "increase the United Nations capacity to monitor the security situation, promote the respect of human rights and advance rule of law."

French ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre said that the resolution was "a first step towards a strengthened UN presence in Burundi to help ensure the respect for human rights and alert the international community on the reality of the situation on the ground."

The Security Council meanwhile welcomed the Burundian government's decision to allow the African Union to send

100 human rights observers

and 100 military experts to monitor the situation.

A delicate balance

Burundi has been embroiled in political violence since President Pierre Nkurunziza began to seek a third term in office one year ago, despite a constitutional two-term limit. He went on to win an election in July, but violence and political upheaval have determined much of daily life in the African nation since.

Burundian refugees in Uganda

The conflict has driven many people away from their homes, seeking refuge in other countries such as Uganda

The

EU has cut its aid program to Burundi,

fearing that the country may slip into civil war. The rest of the international community has also voiced concern that the current crisis could turn into an ethnically charged conflict - in a country where a 12-year civil war between Tutsis and Hutus left an estimated 300,000 people dead by the time it ended in 2005.

Tensions between ethnic Tutsis and Hutus had resulted in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed an estimated 500,000 to 1 million Tutsis as well as a significant number of moderate Hutus.

Relations between the two nations

have also been difficult since the onset of the conflict in Burundi.

ss/jm (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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