HRC 42 | Renew the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi

19.09.2019

Since the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi in 2016, the government has used every possible means to prevent the Commission from accessing the country. This includes subjecting its members to threats and personal abuse, and threatening them with prosecution for 'defamation' and 'attempted destabilisation' of the country. However, these tactics did not prevent the Commission from monitoring the human rights situation in the country closely.

In a statement delivered during the interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, ISHR called for the renewal of the mandate of the Commission. The scrutiny provided by the Commission if of the utmost importance as we are approaching the 2020 presidential elections in the country. In that regard, ISHR believes the Burundi government should engage in an inclusive dialogue with civil society, trade unions and all other stakeholders in order to conduct free democratic and transparent elections.

“Keeping in mind the massive violations committed during the 2015 elections, what mechanisms will the Commission put in place to monitor, investigate, report and push for accountability for all human rights violations, including against defenders, during the upcoming elections?” asked Salma El Hosseiny, ISHR Human Rights Council Advocate.

ISHR also highlighted concerns over the Burundi government’s means to prevent the Commission from accessing the country. This includes threatening some of its members, particularly of prosecution for defamation and attempting to destabilise the country.

The Commission emphasised that “the situation in the country is still very critical. We are deeply worried about the number of violations committed, especially against women. Freedom of association and assembly has been almost completely restricted and activities of NGO’s are strongly monitored’ said Doudou Diène, Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi.

Indeed, government affiliated agencies and authorities, including the police and the national secret intelligence service, continue to carry out gross human rights violations. ISHR remains concerned about the reduce number of defenders left in the country who live in constant fear in this unsafe and threatening environment.

Finally, ISHR urges Burundi to change its long-standing position and cooperate in good faith with all of the UN mechanisms, including the Commission of Inquiry.

Watch the statement here: 

Contact: Adélaïde Etong Kame, Africa Advocacy Consultant, a.etong@ishr.ch

Photo: UN Webtv

Category:

Region
  • Africa
Topic
  • Freedom of expression, association and assembly
  • Human rights defenders
  • NGOs
  • Reprisals and intimidation
  • United Nations
Mechanism
  • UN Human Rights Council
Country
  • Burundi