UN investigators concerned over WHO officials expulsion

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi condemned the expulsion of four WHO officials amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Burundi. “The decision of the Burundian Government to declare persona non grata WHO Country Representative and three of its experts and ordering them to leave Burundi before 15 May is particularly regrettable in the present circumstances” reads the statement issued on May 14.

Burundians in an electoral campaign rally

In a note verbale signed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 12, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Country Representative and three experts are declared persona non grata in Burundi for the country’s interest.

The UN investigators are concerned over the decision by the Burundian authorities not to adopt the WHO recommendations on social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during the electoral campaign. “Thousands of people interact on a daily basis during political rallies”, complained UN experts. They exhorted the Burundian government to more transparency, respect of the international standards and humanitarian assistance. “They are indispensable to combat the pandemic,” they said.

Gabriel Rufyiri, OLUCOME Chairman has also raised his concerned over the COVID-19 spread during the electoral campaign. In an open letter addressed to the Head of State, Rufyiri called on the government to take drastic measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 outbreak in Burundi. He also urged candidates for the general elections to protect voters during this electoral campaign. So far, Burundi has already recorded 27 COVID-19 cases including 11 recoveries and one death.