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Comment by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday’s statement by the Government of Burundi at a meeting of the General Assembly’s Third Committee in New York

25 October 2018

“Yesterday’s statement by Burundi’s Ambassador Albert Shingiro attacking the report of the independent international Commission of Inquiry established by the UN Human Rights Council is deeply regrettable in both tone and substance.

The threat to prosecute the members of the Commission for the work they have done at the express request of the Council – a subsidiary body of the General Assembly -- is unacceptable and should be immediately withdrawn. And the personal attack on the Chair of the Commission of Inquiry, Mr. Doudou Diène, comparing him to a participant in the slave trade, was a disgrace.

As a Member State of the United Nations, Burundi should show respect to its institutions and the various bodies, laws and mechanisms it has established. Burundi’s belligerent and defamatory response to the findings of the Commission of Inquiry, and its repeated and wholly unsupported assertions that the Commission was the puppet of mysterious external forces, as well as the Government’s complete failure to address the very serious findings of the Commission of Inquiry, are reprehensible.

I urge the Government of Burundi to issue an immediate retraction of this inflammatory statement and to offer a full apology to Mr Diène and the other Commissioners, as well as to the Human Rights Council, which created the Commission, and its President who selected and appointed the three Commissioners. Burundi is currently one of the 47 member States sitting on the Human Rights Council.”

ENDS

Full statement of the Ambassador of Burundi at the General Assembly’s Third Committee.

Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi.

For more information and media requests, please contact: Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9711 / rcolville@ohchr.org) or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org ) or Liz Throssell (+41 22 917 9466 / ethrossell@ohchr.org).

2018 is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70thanniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rightswww.standup4humanrights.org.

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