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Burundi must engage in ‘credible and inclusive’ move towards democratic rule |



Fortuné Gaétan Zongo, who was appointed on April 1, said that despite the government’s commitments and measures, the human rights situation there has not changed significantly and sustainably. Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Burundi.

“The important and urgent thing is initiate reforms and a credible and inclusive democratization process in Burundi to avoid a recurrence of past violent cycles,” Mr speakpresent my first report to Dong Nhan Quyen Association.

In his report, the expert reiterated the obligation to take responsibility since the 2015 crisis and called for deeper institutional reform.

In 2015, President Pierre Nkurunziza was sitting, decided run for a controversial third term, sparking mass protests and a failed coup. Years of violent repression followed, including mass arrests, detention, executions, torture, and intimidation. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced.

After the 2020 elections, political violence has subsided, but widespread abuses continue, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry into Burundi reported last year.

Selective prosecution

The Special Rapporteur emphasized that in 2018 Universal Periodic Review Burundi accepted the recommendations to combat sanctions and agreed to establish a transparent and fair justice system in line with international standards.

The recommendations also include the adoption of priority measures to prevent human rights violations, compensation and implementation of the guidance of treaty bodies, special procedures and Inquiry Committee on Burundi.

However, while noting the beginning of efforts to prosecute perpetrators of human rights abuses, he expressed concern about the selective lack of accountability in prosecuting perpetrators of alleged serious violations instead. because of its focus on common crimes.

“The very few cases of serious infringement claims rarely lead to an objective investigationand even more rarely in prosecuting and convicting perpetrators, which in itself is a violation of the right to effective remedy,” said Mr.

Increased commitment

With the number of pre-pending cases Working Group on Compulsory or Involuntary Disappearance and multiple reports of enforced disappearances, the Special Rapporteur recommends Burundi for approval International Convention for the Protection of Persons from Forced Disappearance and calls for specific actions consistent with relevant international legal instruments.

The UN expert reiterated that truth committees must not only be independent, but must also be perceived as such by all concerned, in order to promote peace and reconciliation.

He is disappointed by the limited progress so far on transitional judicial measures, especially regarding accountability, compensation, land return, and security and justice sector reforms.

Limited space

The report cites restrictions on civic space as obstacles for opposition political parties and trade unions to meet, and highlights the difficulties human rights defenders face. , many of them went into exile.

Noting that human rights organizations operate in an environment of fear of reprisal, the Special Rapporteur has adopted laws on foreign NGOs and press controls to limit space. democracy and increased government control.

Mr. Zongo emphasized that as a national human rights organization “One Status”, Independent National Human Rights Commissionrelentless efforts to protect and promote rights in Burundi.

However, he called on the Burundian authorities to ensure their independence of form and materiality and to provide the necessary means to carry out their duties.

Trafficking

In an effort to reduce human trafficking, the judiciary in Burundi has conducted a number of investigations and prosecuted alleged offenders, convicted traffickers and referred victims for assistance. aid.

The country has also institutionalized anti-trafficking training for law enforcement officials and passed legislation regulating migration.

The Special Rapporteur reiterated its readiness to cooperate with the Government in protecting human rights and identifying solutions to the country’s challenges.

He also reiterated his request to visit Burundi and contact relevant agencies and organizations.

Without financial compensation from the UN, Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to check and report back about the state of the country. The positions are honorary.



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