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Release Burkina Faso politician Djibril Yipéné Bassolé now, UN experts urge


GENEVA (7 December 2017) - UN experts from the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention are calling on the authorities in Burkina Faso to release immediately Mr Djibril Yipéné Bassolé, who was arrested in September 2015.

Mr Bassolé, who is 60 and a former Minister of Security, was detained after a failed coup. He was accused of supporting the attempt to overthrow the Government and charged with attacking state security and colluding with a foreign power. He has always denied the charges. 

In April 2017, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) examined his detention, determined it was arbitrary, and called at the time for his release.

Mr Bassolé, who had twice served as the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, was removed from prison and placed under house arrest two months ago. His lawyers asked the Working Group to issue a new opinion on his detention, but this request was rejected.

However, the Working Group says: “Although the conditions of his detention may have changed, the deprivation of liberty has not ceased. We call on the Government of Burkina Faso to respect international standards and release Mr Bassolé now.”
The Government of Burkina Faso asked for the opinion to be reviewed but the Working Group has concluded that the request does not meet its threshold for such a review, and is insisting that Mr Bassolé should have his freedom immediately.  


The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention comprises five independent experts from around the world: Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez (Mexico), Chair-Rapporteur; Ms. Leigh Toomey (Australia), Vice-Chair on Follow-Up; Ms. Elina Steinerte (Latvia), Vice-Chair on Communications; Mr. Sètondji Roland Adjovi (Benin) and Mr. Seong-Phil Hong (Republic of Korea). The expert group was established by the Commission on Human Rights in 1991 to investigate instances of alleged arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Its mandate was clarified and extended by the Commission in 1997 to cover the issue of administrative custody of asylum-seekers and immigrants. In September 2016, the Human Rights Council confirmed the scope of the Working Group's mandate and extended it for a further three-year period. 

The Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

Check the Database of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

UN Human Rights country page – Burkina Faso

For additional information and media requests, please contact: Ms Gabrielle Wellemans (+41 22 917 9794 / gwellemans@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Bryan Wilson – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9826 / mediaconsultant2@ohchr.org)

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