UN under secretary-general visits Burundi to discuss country's 2015 elections

2013-02-01 19:50:00 GMT2013-02-02 03:50:00(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BUJUMBURA, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- UN Under-Secretary-General in charge of political affairs Jeffrey Feltman Friday began a two-day visit in Burundi to learn the east African country's reality and to discuss with Burundian leaders the organization of fair and peaceful elections in 2015.

Feltman met leaders of civil society organizations in Burundi behind closed doors and discussed the preparation of Burundi's 2015 electoral process.

After the meeting with Feltman, the chairman of the Umbrella of Civil Society Organizations in Burundi (FORSC) told a press conference that they discussed "possible threats" to the country's 2015 general elections.

"We expressed our concerns regarding the prevailing climate that gives a prelude of bad signs that may occur during the elections in 2015. The top UN official promised that he will talk to the government officials and other partners to create a good climate for the elections," said Pacifique Nininahazwe, chairman of the Umbrella of Civil Society Organizations in Burundi (FORSC).

According to Nininahazwe, the civil society's worries voiced during the meeting include the youths from the ruling party who are being given arms to "terrorize" people from opposition parties.

He also pointed out the delays in analyzing electoral laws, adding that their analysis should be inclusive.

"Other signs that may jeopardize a good conduction of elections in 2015 are insufficient freedoms and social issues like land disputes which are not being properly settled and the delay on setting up transitional justice mechanisms namely the Truth and Reconciliation Commission," said Nininahazwe.

Feltman is also expected to meet leaders of political parties and Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza before leaving Burundi on Saturday.

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