Item 4: Statement on Human Rights Concerns in Burundi

STATEMENT by Minister Counselor Anniken Enersen at Human Rights Council 42nd Session. Item 4 – Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi. Delivered on 17 September 2019.

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Mr. President,

We want to thank the Commission of Inquiry for its latest report. We note with deep concern the report’s information on serious human rights violations that continue to take place in Burundi, the general climate of impunity, and the potential for another wave of atrocities ahead of the elections next year.

We are disappointed by the lack of cooperation from the Burundian government with the Commission of Inquiry. Furthermore, we deeply regret the demand by the government to close the office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights in Bujumbura.

We are deeply concerned by reports of shrinking democratic space in Burundi, and the reported repression, intimidation and harassment of the opposition.

The impending electoral process presents a great opportunity for Burundi to embark upon a path of stabilization, democratization and socio-economic progress. We urge the Government to ensure a level playing field where all parties may participate freely.

We would like to highlight the importance of prosecuting anyone engaged in the incitement to hatred or calls for violence against other political parties and their members.

We urge the Burundian government and other political stakeholders to engage in a constructive dialogue to find a solution to the crisis. Peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections and full respect for human rights is the best recipe for reinvigorating the economy, enhancing investor confidence, and resuming development cooperation.

This opportunity should not be missed.  

Thank you.