Burundi: Extend the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and ensure adequate funding for his monitoring and documentation work
At the UN Human Rights Council’s 51st session, in October 2022, the Council extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burundi, which it established a year earlier, at its 48th session. It expressed deep concern about ongoing human rights violations and abuses in Burundi and regretted the Burundian Government’s lack of cooperation with human rights bodies and mechanisms.
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As serious human rights violations persist in Burundi and the Government has failed to hold perpetrators accountable or take the concerns raised by Burundian and international actors seriously, the Council should not relax its scrutiny. At its 54th session (11 September-13 October 2023), it should extend the Special Rapporteur’s mandate for an additional year.
Additionally, the Human Rights Council should ensure that the Special Rapporteur is able to fulfil his mandate, as per resolution 48/16, to, inter alia, “monitor the situation of human rights in Burundi, […] make recommendations for its improvement, [and] collect, examine and assess information from all relevant stakeholders […], building upon the work of the Commission of Inquiry.” To fulfil these monitoring and documentation functions, the Special Rapporteur requires adequate funding for at least one additional staff member, which the UN Secretary-General should provide to him. (…)
In light of the ongoing grave human rights violations and abuses, the absence of sustainable progress on key human rights issues of concern, including civic space, the risk of an escalation of violations, particularly ahead of the legislative elections in 2025 and presidential elections in 2027, concerns regarding the lack of independence of the National Independent Human Rights Commission (CNIDH), and the Government’s continued refusal to cooperate with the UN and regional human rights mechanisms, we believe that the Council should maintain its scrutiny of Burundi’s human rights situation. (…)
At its upcoming 54th session, the Council should adopt a resolution that:
- Extends the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burundi for an additional year;
- Requests the United Nations Secretary-General to provide the Special Rapporteur with the assistance and all resources necessary to fulfil his mandate
- Reaffirms that all States Members of the Human Rights Council should uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, and urges all States that are candidates for the Human Rights Council Membership, including Burundi, to be mindful of these standards;
- Urges the Government of Burundi to fulfil its obligations under national law and international human rights law and to protect civic space, by respecting the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association, upholding the rights of Human Rights Defenders, and creating a safe environment for civil society organisations;
- Urges the Government of Burundi to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur, including by granting him access to the country and by providing him with all the information necessary to properly fulfil the mandate;
- Urges the Government of Burundi to constructively cooperate with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in particular its regional office for Central Africa, and to present a timeline for the reopening of its country office in Burundi; and
- Urges the Government of Burundi to resume meaningful cooperation with African human rights bodies and mechanisms, including the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.