Deteriorating human rights situation in Burundi

01.12.2015

Article disponible en français ici.

(Banjul, The Gambia) – During the 57th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), participants were saddened and shocked to hear the deteriorating human rights situation in Burundi.

Article disponible en français ici.

(Banjul, The Gambia) – During the 57th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), participants were saddened and shocked to hear the deteriorating human rights situation in Burundi.

In particular, news of the assassination of a prominent human rights activist Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa's son by an unknown police officer distressed several human rights defenders from Burundi that were attending the ACHPR session.  Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, was shot and wounded by unknown gunmen in August 2015. Moreover, unknown gunmen killed his son-in-law Pascal Nshirimana in Bujumbura in September 2015.

‘This heinous murder demands that the perpetrators are identified and punished in accordance with national and international laws,’ said the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders, Commissioner Gansou reacting immediately to the news in a press statement.

‘The incitement to hatred and the divisive rhetoric employed by the government is extremely dangerous and contrary to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. The international community, particularly African leaders, have a responsibility to protect civilians in situations where the State is clearly unable or indisposed to do so, as is the case of Burundi today,’ she added.

‘This assassination reinforces fears that there is a systematic policy of targeting members of the opposition, journalists, human rights defenders and ordinary citizens perceived to be opposing the Government. So far there has been complete impunity for these crimes,’ said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a statement released by his office on the same day of the killing.

ISHR, along with a group of at least ten leading non-governmental organisations, has sent an open letter calling on the UN Human Rights Council to hold a special, emergency session to address the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation and prevent further atrocities in Burundi.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council (UNSC) strongly condemned the increased cases of human rights violations as well as all public statements being given inside or outside Burundi that appear to be aimed at inciting violence in Resolution 2248 adopted on 12 November 2015. The resolution expresses the UNSC’s ‘intention to consider additional measures against Burundian actors whose actions and statements contribute to the perpetuation of violence and impede the search for a peaceful solution.’

The assassination of Pierre Claver's son came while the ACHPR is preparing to conduct a fact-finding mission in Burundi as requested by the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). Responding to the call of the AU PSC, the ACHPR adopted a Resolution 310 on the urgency for undertaking a Fact-finding Mission to Burundi on 17 November 2015. It expresses the ACHPR’s readiness to investigate and understand the human rights situation in Burundi as a matter of urgency. It also calls on the Government of Burundi to cooperate with the ACHPR and urgently authorise the fact-finding mission.

ISHR and partners continue to monitor the situation of human rights defenders in Burundi.

Contact: Clément Voulé, Head of African Advocacy, ISHR, on c.voule@ishr.ch

Category:

Region
  • Africa
Topic
  • Human rights defenders
  • United Nations
Mechanism
  • UN Human Rights Council
  • African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
Country
  • Burundi