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Burundi: UN human rights expert launches mission in the context of general elections

GENEVA (21 May 2010) – The UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Burundi, Akich Okola, will undertake his 13th mission to Burundi from 23 to 29 May, to assess the human rights situation in the context of country’s elections.

“These are the second elections since the Arusha Peace Accords of 2000, and the country is at an important juncture,” Mr. Okola said. “A constructive dialogue with the Government and relevant national stakeholders is necessary to ensure that the elections are held peacefully, democratically and with due respect to human rights.”

“During my visit, I will gather first-hand information on human rights developments related to the electoral context, including freedom of assembly, association and expression,” the Human Rights Council envoy said. He will meet with State officials, civil society members and representatives of United Nations and international organizations.

A press conference will be held in Bujumbura at the conclusion of the visit at 11h30 on Friday 28 May, in the United Nations Conference Room of BINUB Human Rights and Justice Division, Bujumbura.

Mr. Okola’s visit will also be his last to the country, as his six-year tenure as Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Burundi ends in July 2010.