UN Rights Office Freaked Out Over Rumored Slaying of 220 Villagers in Burkina Faso

The UN human rights office (OHCHR) on Friday raised alarm over the situation in northern Burkina Faso where several hundred civilians, including children, were reportedly killed amidst fighting between security forces and armed groups.

According to media reports, over 220 civilians – including 56 children – were killed in attacks reportedly carried out by the military in two villages on a single day in late February.

Furthermore, at least two international media outlets – the BBC and Voice of America – have been “temporarily suspended” in the past few days following their reporting of the deadly attacks.

OHCHR spokesperson Marta Hurtado called for an immediate end to restrictions on media freedom and civic space.

“Freedom of expression including the right of access to information is crucial in any society, and even more so in the context of the transition in Burkina Faso,” she said in a statement.

Burkina Faso has been under military rule since early 2022, amid an insurgency by extremist militants which triggered a series of coups, and counter coups.  

Capt. Ibrahim Traoré was named transitional president in September 2022 and the transitional government has continued to battle insurgents and further reported counter-coup attempts.  

Unable to verify allegations

Ms. Hurtado added that while OHCHR has not been able to independently verify reports of the alleged massacre due to lack of access, “it is crucial that allegations of such serious violations and abuses by various actors are brought to light and that the transitional authorities promptly undertake thorough, impartial and effective investigations”.  

“Perpetrators need to be held accountable and victims’ rights to truth, justice and reparations must be upheld. Fighting impunity and pursuing accountability is paramount to ensure people trust in the rule of law and social cohesion,” she stressed.

Multifaceted challenges

Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, visited the country in late March, where he highlighted the multifaceted challenges Burkinabè people have been facing since the overthrow of the democratically-elected government in January 2022.

In all, about 6.3 million out of a population of 20 million people need humanitarian assistance, and in 2023, OHCHR had documented 1,335 violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian laws, involving at least 3,800 civilian victims.

“Armed groups were responsible for the vast majority of violations against civilians in incidents involving more than 86 per cent of the victims,” Mr. Türk said, stressing “protection of civilians is paramount. Such wanton violence must stop and the perpetrators held accountable.” 



  1. It’s absolutely devastating to hear about the reported killing of innocent villagers in Burkina Faso. The situation is heartbreaking, especially knowing that children are among the victims. Actions need to be taken to protect the civilians and ensure media freedom to bring these atrocities to light.

  2. How can the international community ensure the protection of civilians in Burkina Faso amidst the ongoing conflict?

    1. To ensure the protection of civilians in Burkina Faso during the ongoing conflict, the international community must prioritize humanitarian aid, support local peace initiatives, and advocate for a peaceful resolution to the crisis through diplomatic efforts.

  3. Could the UN human rights office provide more details on the reported killings of civilians in Burkina Faso? How are they investigating and addressing this grave situation?

    1. Sure thing! The UN human rights office is actively working to gather more information on the tragic events in Burkina Faso. They are coordinating with local authorities, international organizations, and media sources to investigate these horrifying killings and bring attention to the urgent need for justice and protection of civilians in the region.

  4. It’s devastating to hear about the reported killings of civilians, especially innocent children, in Burkina Faso. The situation there is alarming and requires immediate attention from the international community. It’s crucial to protect media freedom and ensure access to unbiased information in such critical times. My thoughts are with the people of Burkina Faso during these challenging times.

  5. Does the UN have any updates on the ongoing situation in Burkina Faso mentioned in the article?

  6. It is truly alarming to hear about the tragic events unfolding in Burkina Faso. The reported killing of over 220 villagers, including innocent children, is devastating. The restrictions on media outlets covering these attacks only add to the concern. The international community must act swiftly to address these human rights violations and ensure media freedom is upheld in Burkina Faso.

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