The United Nations is calling on Burundi's government to reverse its decision to ban the African country's oldest human rights organization.

Burundi's Ministry of Interior issued the ban this week, accusing the rights group Ligue Iteka of tarnishing the country's image and "sowing hatred and division within the Burundian community."

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters Wednesday that the group "carries out crucial work in monitoring and documenting human rights abuses committed in Burundi, which is all the more important given the precarious human rights situation in the country."

Haq said that along with urging a reversal of the ban, the U.N. is calling on Burundi's government to reconsider restrictions on other human right and civil society organizations imposed in the past three months.