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Item 4: Burundi

Statement delivered on September 17, 2018 at the 39th regular session of the Human Rights Council.

Check against delivery

As delivered by Minister Counsellor Herborg F. Alvsåker.

Mr. Vice-President,

We want to thank the Commission of Inquiry for its new report, which unfortunately makes for disconcerted reading. We note with concern that the human rights situation in Burundi continues to be grave and has not improved over recent years.

Again we are confronted with alarming reports of summary executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and ill-treatment, sexual violence, and violations of civil liberties.

We are also disappointed by the persistent lack of cooperation from the Burundian government with both the Commission of Inquiry, OHCHR and the AU human rights observers.

We would like to highlight one aspect that rightly receives more attention than in previous reports from the Commission: The build-up of parallel power structures, like Imbonerakure and the “committee of generals”. This trend further undermines the rule of law and increases human rights violations.

Through Imbonerakure the regime has a nearly ubiquitous apparatus for political repression, intimidation and violence. We fully agree with the Commision that the Burundian State is responsible for the violations committed by Imbonerakure.

We support the recommendations of the report. In addition, we would like to highlight the importance of the run-up to the 2020 elections. The pre-electoral political climate could be decisive for the human rights situation in coming years.

We urge the government and other political stakeholders to engage in a constructive dialogue to find a solution to the crisis that is conducive to free, fair and peaceful elections.