GENEVA (29 June 2016) - The Human Rights Committee today concluded its consideration of the initial report of Burkina Faso on its implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Presenting the report, Bessole Rene Bagoro, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Civic Promotion, stated that the current report had been elaborated following an inclusive and participatory process. Civil and political rights were enshrined in Chapters I and II of the 1991 Constitution. Since 1999, the socio-political climate in Burkina Faso had been favourable to implementing the Covenant. However, the socio-political crisis of 2011, the popular uprisings of October 2014, the attempt for a military coup d’état in September 2015, and the terrorist attacks of January 2016, had all had a negative impact on the realisation of human rights in general. Despite that, the country had tried to implement the dispositions of the Covenant both legally and institutionally. With a view to abolishing the death penalty, certain activities had been adopted aimed at the media, religious leaders, and other entities.
In the ensuing discussion, Committee Experts sought clarifications on the independence of the judiciary, maternal mortality, early and traditional marriages, child labour, sexual exploitation and corporal punishment of children, discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or identity, measures taken to prevent acts of torture, use of force by security forces, conflicts between pastoralists and famers, the rights of minority groups, and the independence of the judiciary. In particular, they were concerned about the so called Koglweogo and the practice of lynching, the continued use of the death penalty, and events surrounding the 2015 military coup d’état.
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Bagoro said that the State Party would continue to improve the rule of law, and would respond to the remaining questions within 48 hours. The State was committed to its international obligations and to building a society which would allow people to live a dignified life with a respect for human rights.
Mr. Salvioli, in his concluding remarks, noted that the entire arsenal of norms and reforms that covered everything from decrees to laws to the Constitution itself, were an example of the efforts of the State. The Committee had taken note of all the progress made. The remaining issues included lynching and the death penalty, as well as military courts.
The delegation of Burkina Faso included representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Civic Promotion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, and the Burkinabe from Abroad, the Ministry of National Defence and Ancient Combatants, and the Permanent Mission of Burkina Faso to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
The Committee will next meet in public today at 3 p.m. to consider the fifth periodic report of Argentina (CCPR/C/ARG/5
The initial report of Burkina Faso can be read here: CCPR/C/BFA/1
. Presentation of the Report
BESSOLE RENE BAGORO, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Civic Promotion, said that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its first Protocol had been ratified in 1999. The current report had been elaborated following an inclusive and participatory process. Civil and political rights were enshrined in Chapters I and II of the 1991 Constitution, and since 1999, the socio-political climate in Burkina Faso had been favourable to implementing the Covenant. However, the socio-political crisis of 2011, the popular uprising of October 2014, the attempt for a military coup d’état in September 2015, and the terrorist attacks of January 2016, had all had a negative impact on the realisation of human rights in general. Despite that, the country had tried to implement the dispositions of the Covenant both legally and institutionally.
In January 2016, a National Council had been established with a five-year mandate to seek out responsibility for all human rights crimes and grave violations of a political nature. Two independent Commissions of Inquiry had been established. Judicial proceedings had begun on those involved in the coup d’état. The National Human Rights Commission was now in line with the Paris Principles, guaranteeing its independence. In addition, the mandate of its members had been made permanent. Laws on public information, written and online press, magistrates, broadcasting, prevention of violence against women and girls, freedom of association, had all been adopted and the Constitution had been revised, all in an effort to strengthen human rights.
Gender provisions had been introduced in the Constitution, and training had been provided to stakeholders. A centre for victims of gender-based violence had opened in 2015. Between 2012 and 2015, 159 women victims of exclusion following accusations of witchcraft had been reintegrated in society. A resolution on female genital mutilation had also been adopted, said Mr. Bagoro. With a view to abolishing the death penalty, certain activities had been adopted aimed at the media, religious leaders, and other entities. A bill had been initiated in order to withdraw the death penalty, however it had not won the majority in the Parliament. Awareness activities were under way with a view to abolishing the death penalty. The law stipulated that the death penalty could not be applied to a minor.
Regarding child labour, a project on children in gold mining had been established, with the effect that over 20,000 children were no longer in artisanal quarries, and a roadmap ensured that the pilot could be operational in the gold mining. Forty four children had been withdrawn from the gold mining operations. The rights of detainees and those deprived of liberties were ensured. Visits to prisons had been undertaken, and the recommendations of the report resulting from those visits would be implemented. On freedom of expression, in order to strengthen right to information, the Law on Access to Public information and Administrative Documents had been promulgated, allowing for effective access to information, transparency, good-governance and development. In order to decriminalise press crimes in 2015, journalists were no longer deprived of liberty, but simple fines were imposed on them.
The Law on Freedom of Association and Assembly had been amended in 2015 in accordance with human rights standards. Burkina Faso had on many occasions been targeted by acts of terrorism, which had led to numerous victims. As a result, two new institutions had been put in place to target terrorism. Those respected human rights at all levels. Burkina Faso actively participated in the G-5 Sahel, a regional security cooperation organisation. Judicial proceedings had been initiated against those who were suspected of having incurred violations of human rights and the international humanitarian law. Questions by Experts
An Expert asked what mechanisms were in place to implement the views of the Human Rights Committee.
Regarding raising awareness and the ratification of the Second Protocol on Abolishing the Death Penalty, what were the challenges the State Party had faced? When was the last time someone had been sentenced to death? Was there a mandatory death sentence?
The first National Human Rights Commission had been established in 2001, and the fourth Commission had recently been established. Could information on its financial resources be provided, as well as the number and type of complaints received? Were there no complaints in 2016? How many complaints had been received from 2001 and 2014?
Another Expert asked whether the issue of the 30 percent quota for women only addressed political parties, and, if so, why it was not applicable generally to all facets of life, including the private sector.
Could more information be provided on the equal remuneration for men and women, and how that was implemented?
On the minimum age for marriage, which was 17 for women and 20 for men, whereas in some cases 15-year old girls could be married, the Expert was concerned that such a practice violated women’s rights. Could a clarification be provided on traditional marriages?
Did the State Party intend to have an annual quota for recruitment of persons with disabilities in the Government, and to apply that to the private sector as well?
An Expert commended the delegation for the fact that the capital punishment for minors had been abolished, however regretted that the Bill on the Abolition of the Death Penalty had not passed. What were the arguments against the Bill? What were the conditions of the building holding people on death row?
Summary and extrajudicial executions were formally prohibited by law, and security forces acted in accordance to ethics. However, the information the Committee had received proved to the contrary. The Expert asked the delegation to comment on particular cases, where the police had used force, including violence. Could the delegation provide an update on the reparations to the families of the victims during the rule of Blaise Compaore?
There were allegations that militia groups conducted interrogations, including torture. Could more specific information be provided on the examination and prosecution of individuals of these groups?
Regarding lynching, were those isolated incidents or did they happen often? The Expert asked the delegation to comment on the two specific cases, where accused persons had been lynched. Had a commission of inquiry been established and had it produced a report? Could information be provided on measures and prosecution of members of the security forces for the excessive use of force?
Given that the law adopted in 2012 granting amnesty to all those who had served as Heads of State in Burkina Faso had been repealed, there were no obstacles to act. In 2015, Blaise Compaore had been charged. What was the follow up to that procedure?
Questions was asked on whether female genital mutilation was being truly tackled. What measures were there in place for victims of marital rape to seek justice?
The delegation was requested to confirm that women had the right to land ownership. What specific actions were being undertaken to rectify that situation?
An Expert thanked the delegation for providing information that forced marriage had indeed been criminalised, and asked for information on the enforcement of that law. Did the State Party intend to ensure that all marriages, including traditional marriages, were registered? What measures had been taken to provide potential victims of harmful traditional practices with a safe complaints mechanism? Could information be provided with measures to ensure that all victims of traditional practices had the right to access justice? What were the individual complaints mechanisms in place?
Was marital rape a crime only if it was shown that there was repeated rape of a partner? In other words, did a single act, with a partner with whom there had been continuous relations, constitute a crime according to the law?
Could more information be provided on the act addressing criminalisation and punishment of violence against women and girls?
There was a concern about the high rate of maternal mortality due to illegal abortions. The regulations for legal termination of pregnancy, which were limited to 10 weeks and required lengthy judicial procedures, could deter women who were entitled to legal abortion. Could the State Party provide statistics on abortion and inform what steps were taken to ensure the health of women in that respect? Could the delegation provide updated information on the leading causes of maternal mortality, as well as disaggregated data in that respect for girls aged 14 to 19? What efforts were made to ensure health clinics were available to women in rural areas? What were the reasons for the other two leading causes of maternal mortality, namely hemmoreaging and infections, and how was the State Party combatting them? Replies by the Delegation
The family of one of the victims of the reign of President Blaise Compaore, namely of the former President Thomas Sankara, had been offered reparations, which they had not accepted on the pretext that they wanted light to be shed on his killing. The case had been recently reopened.
Regarding the concerns on capital punishment, Burkina Faso was a signatory of the moratorium and that showed the commitment of Burkina Faso. The last death penalty had been given in Bobo-Dioulasso in 2016. The main challenge was the reaction of people when they faced decisions regarding the death penalty. Most crimes of a sufficiently serious measure called for the death penalty, which was why it was difficult to vote a law calling on that. Most people believed that the most serious crimes had to be sanctioned by the death penalty. Detainees on death row could benefit from pardon.
The delegation confirmed that the National Human Rights Commission had been established in 2001 by a presidential decree, however it had not been in accordance with the Paris Principles. In 2009, reforms had been made to ensure it could function adequately, autonomously, and with a stronger mandate, and a law had been promulgated to that effect. Whereas the multiplicity of members of the previous Commission had made it difficult to operate, the new Commission with eleven members aimed to rectify that. In addition, the fact that it was now established by a law instead of a decree strengthened the mandate of the Commission. The delegation ensured the Committee that the Government would ask for an accreditation of that new Commission. It was very important for the members to be permanently appointed, and the new members would be permanently appointed, devoted full time to their tasks in the Commission.
On the mechanisms of individual complaints and the methods of dissemination of the Covenant, trainings benefiting 160 lawyers and magistrates had been undertaken to explain the importance of invoking those instruments in the courts. Guidance was provided to any individual submitting a complaint.
Women’s participation in public life was strongly supported, including by a new law thanks to which real changes had been made. That law focused on effective representation of 30 percent of one or the other sex, thus ensuring higher participation of an underrepresented sex in political parties. An initial bill had been proposed in 2015 for the revision of that law, in order to ensure representation during local elections. The review of the law was planned for 2016, and was one of the priorities earmarked by the Government. On quotas for individual appointments, the Government planned a bill in that direction. No complaints had been filed on the question of equal pay, however if such existed, they could be referred to the Labour Inspectorate.
The delegation informed that a revision of the Code of the Person and the Family would make the age for marriage equal between boys and girls - at 18 years of age.
A 10 percent quota was reserved for persons with disabilities, who had a priority over other applicants.
On alleged executions, it was explained that the Government had been involved in the deaths of persons in the east of the country. It was important to understand the context under which those events had occurred. The East was one of the areas with the highest crime rates in the country. In March 2013, the Government had responded to an uproar by citizens, in order to combat the criminal groups. Over a hundred people had been arrested, three of whom had become ill and died as a result. The operation had taken place during the hottest part of the year, which could have been the cause of the deaths of those individuals, especially having in mind the bad conditions of the prison facilities. As a result of those deaths, the Government had taken a number of measures to bolster controls in the cells. That included oversight and training for magistrates as well as intervention units.
On the questions of lynching, the delegation stated that it was a sudden appearance as a result of crimes, when people mobilised in a public area and lynched perpetrators of crimes. Sometimes people felt let down by the national security forces. Thus, in certain areas, citizens had organised themselves in self-defence groups entitled Koglweogo, or protectors of the environment. People were forced to contribute, there was extortion of information, and people confessed due to various forms of physical torture. The Government had appealed a number of times to try to get those groups to stop such violations. Some groups were torturing and abusing human rights, however others were not. In response to that, a draft decree had been prepared to review the community police participation in the area of security. There were community-based security units. In the case cited by the State Party, the police had attended, but had not been involved in the events. The plan of action was to reinstate the community police. There were legal investigations in that respect, and criminal proceedings had been initiated. However, there was strong resistance by the people.
Regarding the death of three detainees, to which a Committee Expert referred, the guards had carried out an investigation and sent a report. Prison guards were obliged to use their weapons in full respect of a decree to that effect. Questions by Experts
An Expert asked whether self-defence groups entitled Koglweogo were operating under the State or outside the framework of the State. The State had a responsibility in either way – either direct responsibility or because of a lack of due diligence. Replies by the Delegation
On maternal mortality, the delegation said that there were two categories of causes – direct and indirect. The direct causes were haemorrhages, infections through the placenta, and complications as a result of an abortion. Indirect causes were malaria, HIV/AIDS and female genital mutilation, as well as pathologies associated with haemoglobin.
On family planning, the rate of usage of contraception was 26.9 percent at the national level, while in rural areas that percentage stood at 11.3.
Following the military coup d’état in September 2015, there had been serious events in October which had perturbed social peace. The Government had a series of measures to care for the victims. Psychological and moral support was provided to the families in a very difficult context. Psychological visits had been followed by social visits to families, in order to find out how to deal with them. Twenty five families had received specific support, while subsidies had been given to 22 widows. The children who had been left orphans had been declared as orphans of the State. For six of the widows, the State had provided housing.
On the lynching issues, the delegation said that those were not always recorded. The last one had been turned over to the gendarmerie, without success. A thousand people had surrounded one brigade but the gendarmes had not been able to save the alleged individual offender who had been stoned to death. That was an issue of trust in the judicial system. However, every time there was a lynching, an investigation was conducted.
On former President Compaore and the abrogation of the amnesty law, it was said that there was no longer an obstacle on trying the former President. Indeed, the former President had been charged, along with other Ministers, following which the Supreme Court had transmitted the case to the Control Chamber of the High Court. For all cases where there had been deaths, investigations had been done. The number of deaths had been subject to an investigation and a report, and the judiciary would be able to deal with it.
Regarding the death penalty, the delegation said that a number of activities had been foreseen for civil society and stakeholders in order to prepare the ground for such a bill. The official position was of moving towards abolition.
Access of women to land was an important issue in Burkina Faso. In terms of inheritance, the law did not discriminate. When the spouse died, the spouse inherited completely any goods belonging to the individual who had died. There was no discrimination in terms of sex. However, there were certain mind sets and mentalities which believed that women should not inherit.
Turning to the question of rape in marriage, a delegate informed that the law relating to violence against women had a loophole. The crime did have to be repetitive in order to be considered a crime.
The Koglweogo, or self-defence groups, did not have a legal status. In July, the Government had tried to quell the three attacks first, which may have given impression that the Government was cooperating with them. However, all had been done with the view of establishing peace and security. The Government was currently taking measures to eliminate those groups. Questions by Experts
On the issue of preventing early marriages, an Expert asked whether the efforts of the Government would also include application of the legislation on forced marriages and traditional marriages.
The Expert asked whether anti-discrimination legislation included grounds of sexual orientation or identity. Stereotypes against persons of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals had been reported, as was hate speech against those individuals, including by officials. Could the delegation inform what steps would be taken by the State Party to criminalise hate crimes against such individuals, ensure effective complaint mechanisms, and guarantee that hate crimes were promptly investigated and prosecuted?
On measures taken to prevent acts of torture, the delegation had only provided one instance, namely the case of Mr. Diallo. However, more information was needed on that case: had the defendants been re-charged, had a trial been conducted, and had reparations been provided to the victim?
The delegation was asked to inform on the use of force by security forces during the October 2014 riot at the Maco prison, and the recommendations. Information was also sought regarding the October and November 2014 protests, in which security used force against peaceful protesters. Could the delegation provide statistics of prosecutions brought forward and convictions incurred?
Did the legislation on prohibition of torture criminalise acts of torture committed by both private groups and state authorities? What was the number of prosecutions against self-help groups?
Question was asked if corporal punishment was prohibited by law and if so by what law. What were the measures undertaken to enforce that law, including number of investigations and prosecutions?
Regarding conflicts between pastoralists and farmers, and rights of minority groups, the Expert inquired how the Peulhs and Touareg groups were protected. Could the delegation give information for the National Observatory, and when it would be started. What were the plans for an early warning system, and in what ways would it engage with minority groups?
Turning to the dissemination of the Covenant and the first Optional Protocol, question was asked on when they would be disseminated, and by whom they would be received. Was there a structure in place for disseminating the concluding observations among the institutions and the general public? Would the Covenant and concluding observations be only distributed in French or in all local languages?
Could the delegation provide information on the demonstrations in Koudougou , Poa and Kinsi, where six students had lost their lives, between 2009 and 2011, at the hands of the police?
The recent military coup d’état had led to intimidation by the presidential security regiment. What were the comments of the delegation on that point? What steps were taken to relieve a person once it was established that he or she was unlawfully detained?
Why were the President of the country and the Minister of Justice still members of the High Judicial Council, asked an Expert.
Another Expert welcomed the efforts to establish the Legal Assistance Fund and the Legal Aid Commission, and asked the delegation to specify how those worked. What were the financial and human resources used to ensure the independence of the judiciary? How were members of the judiciary penalised? What measures were there to combat corruption and undue political influence?
In some prisons, overcrowding was at the rate of 300 percent and in others, inmates received only one meal a day. Could the delegation comment on that? Were military prisons used as a pre-trial detention?
Regarding the death penalty, how many people had been sentenced since 2007, which was the date of the official moratorium on the death penalty? Specifically, for what crimes had those sentences been handed down?
On the extrajudicial executions surrounding the March 2013 Fada N’ Gourma episode and what happened with the Compagnie Républicaine de Sécurité, the delegation had spoken of the extreme heat in the police custody cells. The Committee appreciated that there were investigations on those events. Were there any initiatives to implement the conclusions of the Commission of Inquiry on Mr. Norbert Zongo?
The Expert was highly concerned about the women and children used for sexual exploitation, especially as Burkina Faso was a country of transit. In 2012, almost 2,000 children, and in 2013, almost 1,200 children had been identified as victims of trafficking. Was there data for women, and was there data for 2014 and 2015? The Government had made significant efforts in that respect. Could the State Party explain the powers of the National Watchdog and Monitoring Committee and the 2016 Law? Could the number of prosecutions be provided and the types of sanctions handed down for these cases? Regarding the 2014 law banning pornography involving children, did the Government consider that paying a fine in lieu of a custodial sentence would deter the perpetrators and was that proportionate to the crime?
On child labour, the State party had informed that 41 percent of children aged between 5 and 14 were economically active and spent between 14 and 24 hours per week working in gold panning sites. That trend was increasing and there were plans of action to deter it. How were the plans being implemented and what impact did the awareness raising campaigns have? What were the cases of prosecution for perpetrators violating the law covering child labour? Allegedly, many children were involved in the sale of drinks. What were the measures adopted to reduce or eliminate that form of exploitation?
Question was also asked on Burkina Faso’s position on the ratification of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
Could the delegation comment on the “payment of a fine” by journalists and where it was compatible with the Covenant? Could information be provided about Mr. Norbert Zonga and the fact that he was attacked by the National Gendarmerie?
How was the law pertaining to the freedom of association being revised and to what extent was it consistent with the obligations under the Covenant?
Reportedly thousands of households had been displaced in local communities, mostly as a result of mining companies as well as agro-industry companies. Could the delegation inform if that was true? If so, what avenues were available to the individuals affected? Had there been consultations and what remedies were provided to those?Replies by the Delegation
The delegation stated that the Peulhs were not considered a minority. There were Peulhs who were also sedentary farmers. The State acted by way of enabling negotiations between the parties in conflict.
There was no attempt to undermine the independence of the judiciary. The President of the country and the Minister of Justice no longer presided the High Judicial Council. Rather, it was the first president of the Supreme Court who was now the president of the High Judicial Council. There were no cases where pressure had been put on military courts, and if there was such an instance, the Minister stated that he would like to be informed. The Supreme Court had established that a judicial error had been committed, but that error had already been corrected.
The “maison d’arret” was the place where individuals were taken for pre-trial detention. In principle, those who were in pre-trial detention were not mixed with others.
Investigations were carried out by the technical services of the judiciary regarding corruption within the judiciary, and the Government was looking at revamping that practice. Currently, many judges were being sanctioned, and measures were undertaken taken to address that issue.
On the case of Newton Ahmed Barry, there was no awareness that he had been attacked during the coup d’état. People who considered that they were victims could come forth to the justice system. Most victims had been heard and their rights had been fully respected.
It was true that custodial sentences had been done away with for journalists, and the latter were currently only punished with fines. The levels of fines had been reduced.
On the displacement of persons in the Kounkoufouanou village, the delegation said that the problem had been settled. Schools had been rebuilt and the village was now used as a positive example were a dialogue had been established between two groups.
The Constitution prohibited all forms of discrimination, including on the grounds of sexual orientation. There was no knowledge of a systematic stigmatisation of sexual minorities. Those people had the same protection as other groups. Regarding persons with HIV/AIDS, there was a special committee to help those individuals.
The Norbert Zongo case had been declared null and void in Burkina Faso and as a result had been sent to the African Court of Human Rights. The case had then been reopened during the transition and the Investigation Judge of the Tribunal of the Court of First Instance was working on that, and the end to that case was near. All fines were available in the Official Journal.
Corporal punishment, both from parents or teachers or other persons, was prohibited, and it fell under the provisions of Articles 327 and 328 of the Criminal Code. There was no disaggregated data on the number of cases in that respect.
The judicial assistance budget of 100 million CFA had increased to 150 million CFA. A special commission had been established to make legal counselling more effective. The fund was available for persons who were poor.
On conditions of detention for people on death row, the delegation said that they were detained in special individual cells, with the right to food, visits from members of their family or persons of their religion once a day, and a walk in an area designated for that. They had the right to write, and other cultural activities, including the right to information. They did not have the right to leave the place of detention as that would incur difficulties. There was a clear separation between minors, children and adults, as well as between men and women. With regards to men, there was a “special arrangement” and people who appeared to have the possibility to be rehabilitated or reintegrated were kept separated.
Overcrowding in the maisons d’arret of Tenkodogo was indeed a problem, said a delegate, because it covered a huge territory, which explained the large number of detainees. The Government agreed that conditions were not up to date, and was working on ensuring that the international standards were respected. Voting rights for detainees would be implemented in the upcoming elections.
On the Diallo Allaye case following the 2015 events, it was said that that had been a very unfortunate event and the two alleged offenders had been punished. The case had been sent to the Investigation Judge of the Tribunal of the Court of First Instance.
Koglweogo acts did not constitute torture, as those were not set up by the State. They did commit abuses, and as such were prosecuted under crimes enumerated in the Criminal Code including abduction, extortion, deadly blows, and other charges. For the Fada and Sapouy protests of May and June 2016, members of the Koglweogo were currently being tried before the courts.
Turning to the law on vandalism, the delegation said that certain provisions in it were inconsistent with the Covenant. However, since the ratification of the Covenant, it had priority. At the same time, protesters were not allowed to destroy property and act inconsistently with the law.
Regarding child labour, it was explained that the recent law banned the employment of children on an artisanal basis and punished those who ignore the presence of children to participate in that kind of work. Mining was considered one of the worst forms of labour and dangerous for society. All mechanisms were functioning, including the National Council for Oversight, and acting in terms of prevention, awareness, repression and other activities. A trial had been set up to try persons involved in cases of child labour.
The National Observatory for the Prevention of Community Conflicts had begun to function in 2015 with the adoption of a decree and would soon be extended to the regional and provincial levels. Members were mandated to collect information. The process of setting up the mechanisms was slow due to the post-conflict financial situation of the country. A permanent secretariat would be set up in 2016, which would be in charge of coordination.
The Committee that dealt with the status of refugees had been in existence since 2013 and had met once in 2016. Burkina Faso was a member of the African Union and, as such, the country had adopted its statute and acted in accordance with it. A large number of the cases of requests for asylum or refugee status were individuals from countries with conflict, among which the Central African Republic and Burundi.
On dissemination, implementation of recommendations from the Committee on Civil and Political Rights, as soon as the delegation returned home, a communication plan would communicated through the media outlets, through which the outcome of the dialogue and observations and conclusions would be disclosed. In addition, workshops would be set up with the participation of the Government and civil society in the thirteen regions that made up Burkina Faso, to ensure that all were made cognizant of the conclusions. Moreover, a roadmap had been drawn up identifying the actors and the timetable for measures to be undertaken, as well as for the follow-up of the implementation. The Ministry of Communication dealt with follow-up to international agreements. A multi-sectorial committee reviewed the Universal Periodic Review, with a mandate to follow up the implementation of human rights. That entity had 23 members, two of whom came from civil society. The conclusions were available on the website of the Ministry of Justice, however they were not translated in other national languages due to financial constraints.
The National Human Rights Commission had an important role to play in terms of dissemination and awareness of recommendations, as per its mandate. Concluding Remarks
BESSOLE RENE BAGORO, Minister of Justice of Burkina Faso, thanked the Committee and said that the intention of the delegation had been to speak truthfully. The State Party would continue to improve the rule of law, and would respond to the remaining questions within 48 hours. Regarding the Peuhls, those were not a minority, but one of the ethnic groups that were most visible, and came in a third in terms of population. The State was committed to its international obligations and to building a society which would allow people to live a dignified life with a respect for human rights.
FABIAN OMAR SALVIOLI, Committee Chairperson, thanked the Minister for the sincere and truthful way in which he had led the dialogue. The entire arsenal of norms and reforms that covered everything from decrees to laws to the Constitution itself, were an example of the efforts by the State. The Committee had taken note of all the remaining issues, as well as the progress realised in terms of the National Human Rights Institution. On the questions dealing with conflicts between peoples, in particular in terms of lynching and the death penalty, the State had an important role to play in training and empowering. More efforts needed to be made on the right to life, in terms of torture, cruel and inhuman treatment, discrimination and punishing the violation of those rights. The State had an even greater responsibility when people were deprived of their freedom, and Mr. Salvioli invited the State to focus on those individuals. He expressed relief that the State did not condone the Koglweogo, and was encouraged that the measures were being taken to curb such groups. Lastly, the Committee was pleased to note the existence of the follow-up measures and mechanisms, not just for the Universal Periodic Review, but also for the Treaty Bodies, and, in particular, the Human Rights Committee.
For use of the information media; not an official record