Takeover: Free Burkina Faso president now, UN tells soldiers

The United Nations on Tuesday deplored the military takeover in Burkina Faso and called for the immediate release of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and other top officials.

The UN human rights office said it was crucial to preserve democratic space in the West African nation and ensure that the rule of law is respected.

“We call on the military to immediately release President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and other high-level officials who have been detained. We urge a swift return to constitutional order,” spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, visited the country in November 2021, when she stressed the importance of preserving the democratic and human rights gains made there.

“The high commissioner deeply deplores the military takeover of power in Burkina Faso,” said Shamdasani.

Soldiers in Burkina Faso on Monday announced on state television that they had seized power following a mutiny over the civilian president’s failure to contain an Islamist insurgency.

A junior officer announced the suspension of the constitution, the dissolution of the government and parliament, and the closure of the country’s borders.

Shamdasani said that during Bachelet’s visit in November, she observed mounting frustration and impatience with the deteriorating security situation.

“In the face of the security threats and tremendous humanitarian challenges facing the country, it is more important than ever to ensure that the rule of law, constitutional order, and the country’s obligations under international human rights law are fully respected,” the spokeswoman said.

“It is crucial for democratic space to be effectively protected, to ensure people are able to air their grievances and aspirations, and to participate in meaningful dialogue to work towards addressing the many crises in the country.”

Bachelet’s office pledged to continue monitoring the human rights situation in Burkina Faso.


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