Agenda Item 4: Human Rights Situation that Require the Council's Attention
Interactive dialogue with: The Commission of Inquiry on Burundi
Statement by: International Organisation for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD) and Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ
2 July 2019
Merci, Monsieur le Président.
We appreciate the attention to human rights abuses and violations committed by the Imbonerakure as highlighted in the Commission of Inquiry’s previous report to the thirty-ninth session of the Human Rights Council. We also side with the Commission’s position to establish responsibility of the Burundian State Government for these wrongful acts.
Intimidation and threats by the Imbonerakure continue to threaten democracy, including freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and political participation among others. Moreover, there is deep concern that such tactics were used to limit or restrict these freedoms prior to the 2018 vote on the referendum to extend the presidential term. Worse still, cases of summary executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, torture and sexual violence against the spouses of victims associated with the opposition, have also been reported.
Monsieur le Président,
Due to a non-functional judiciary system, arbitrary arrests have been executed with the use of the vaguely defined offence of “undermining the internal security of the State”.
EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice call for:
- One, steadfast investigation into human rights violations committed by the Imbonerakure and the perpetrators being brought to justice, and
- Two, immediate measures toward the protection of the right to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.
Finally, we ask the Commission of Inquiry:
- How has the closure of the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi affected the Commission’s work and what steps are being taken to deal with this situation?