Interactive Dialogue on Burundi - Civicus Statement at the Human Rights Council

33rd session of the Human Rights Council

CIVICUS welcomes the final report of the Independent Experts and commends them for their clear analysis of the shocking situation of human rights in Burundi. 

We note that the report concedes that violence against human rights defenders, journalists and ordinary citizens continues unabated and those who are behind the violence act with unacceptable impunity. 

Mr. President, we agree with the findings of the report on the enforced disappearances, abductions, killings, torture, arrests and detentions of those perceived to be opponents of the regime.  Human rights defenders, journalists and ordinary citizens have been killed, others been abducted and taken to unknown locations.  Those fortunate enough to be released alive are tortured before they are released.

Journalists have been killed in the most brutal of circumstances and virtually all private media outlets have been destroyed and forced to close down.  Some journalists who are still present have been violently attacked and the many who have fled into exile still live in fear as some have been followed by agents of the Burundian regime.  Ordinary civilians who attempt to flee the violence and seek refuge in other countries are arrested and tortured if they are caught. 

Freedom of assembly is virtually non-existent and the only public demonstrations that are held are state-sponsored and the participants are supporters of the regime who either express support for the government or denounce the actions of international community. 

We urge the government of Burundi, security agents and the armed wing of the ruling party the Imbonerakure to end immediately these atrocities and violence against their own citizens, strengthen state institutions, the judiciary and respect the rule of law. 

We call on the Council, the international community, the AU and the East African Community to fully implement the recommendations put forward by the independent experts in this report.