35th session UN Human Rights Council
Oral Statement – Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi
15 June 2017

CIVICUS remains deeply concerned by the gross human rights violations committed with impunity by the government since the Commission’s previous Council briefing on 13 March 2017. 

The systematic oppression of Burundian’s fundamental rights persists throughout the country, characterised by arbitrary arrests, abductions, detentions and extra-judicial killings. The government continues to targets members of the political opposition, representatives of civil society and other individuals on specious grounds of supporting those who organised a failed coup in May 2015 and of association with armed groups. 

Hundreds of people remain unaccounted for, including human rights activist Marie Claudette Kwizera who disappeared on 10 December 2015. Her whereabouts remain unknown. 

Mr. President, these atrocities are carried out in an environment where freedom of expression, association and assembly are gravely stifled.  

The country’s main human rights organisations have been suspended for an extended period of time and four prominent human rights lawyers have been disbarred.  Independent media outlets remain closed, while most journalists are in exile and only public assemblies organised by supporters of the ruling party are allowed.  

The vast majority of these atrocities are committed by the security forces, the intelligence service and the armed wing of the ruling CNDD-FDD party, who receive paramilitary training and target citizens with hate speech and threats.  

To prevent the monitoring and documentation of human rights violations and encourage impunity by the perpetrators of human rights violations, Burundi has ceased cooperating with OHCHR, withdrew from the International Criminal Court and refused to collaborate with Commission of Inquiry.  

Efforts to find lasting peace through the inter-Burundi dialogue are hampered by the absence of some of the main opposition parties and exclusion of civil society voices by the government. 

We call on the government of Burundi to support the work of the Commission of Inquiry and take the necessary steps end violence and human rights violations in the country. 

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