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Human Rights Council concludes Special Session on preventing further deterioration of the human rights situation in Burundi

ROUNDUP RELEASE

17 December 2015

Council Requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to Urgently Dispatch an Expert Mission to Document Human Rights Violations and Abuses and Identify Perpetrators, with a View towards Accountability

The Human Rights Council this afternoon concluded its Special Session on the human rights situation in Burundi after requesting the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently organize and dispatch an expert mission to Burundi to swiftly investigate violations and abuses of human rights with a view to preventing the further deterioration of the human rights situation.

In a resolution on preventing the further deterioration of the human rights situation in Burundi, adopted without a vote, the Council strongly condemned the ongoing serious violations and abuses of human rights in Burundi by all actors, and the excessive use of force by the security forces against demonstrators and other civilians.  The Council condemned retributive acts of violence, including targeted assassinations and the climate of impunity in which these acts were committed, and the incendiary statements of some actors in the country. 

The Council called upon the Burundian authorities to protect the people against acts of intimidation and violence, promote transparent accountability for all human rights violations and abuses, and conduct thorough and independent investigations of serious violations and abuses of human rights so that all perpetrators were held to account. 

The Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently organize and dispatch an expert mission to Burundi to swiftly investigate violations and abuses of human rights with a view to preventing the further deterioration of the human rights situation.  The expert mission was requested to engage with the Burundian authorities and all other relevant stakeholders to ensure accountability for human rights violations and abuses, including by identifying alleged perpetrators, to adopt appropriate transitional justice measures, and to maintain the spirit of the Arusha Agreement.

It further requested a representative of the experts to issue an oral update and participate in an enhanced interactive dialogue on the human rights situation in Burundi at the thirty-first session of the Human Rights Council in March 2016, and to issue a final report and participate in an enhanced interactive dialogue on the human rights situation in Burundi at the thirty-third session in September 2016.

The opening meeting of the Special Session heard keynote statements by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Adama Dieng, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide; Michael Addo, Special Rapporteur on the rights of internally displaced persons and the Chair of the Coordinating Committee of the Special Procedures; Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union; as well as a statement by Burundi, the concerned country.

A summary of their statements can be found here.

This was the Human Rights Council’s twenty-fourth Special Session.  Documentation relating to the Special Session, including the resolution, is available on the Human Rights Council webpage. The thirty-first regular session of the Human Rights Council will take place from 29 February to 24 March 2016.

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For use of the information media; not an official record